A year before Donald Trump hired Breitbart News’ executive chairman to be his presidential campaign’s CEO, Stephen K. Bannon boasted, “I'm Trump's campaign manager” via email.
Breitbart’s ties to Trump were long suspected before Bannon was brought aboard the campaign following the ouster of campaign chairman Paul Manafort in August 2016. Breitbart News, a website beloved by the so-called “alt-right”, had been a Trump’s staunchest ally in the media. Breitbart was so loyal to Trump that it even took the campaign’s side when then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski lied about bruising Michelle Fields, then a Breitbart reporter.
Bannon’s emails to his former Hollywood writing partner Julia Jones show he at least had reason to believe he had Trump’s ear. In emails reviewed by The Daily Beast, Bannon brags about his political influence.
“I'm Trump's campaign manager,” Bannon wrote in an email sent on August 30, 2015 to Jones, who provided the email to The Daily Beast.
“OMG! Is that confidential or can I tweet it :)),” Jones replied later that day. “I am soooo impressed. Really! He couldn't have picked a better person. OMG!”
“Confidential,” Bannon responded. “Don't u ever read breitbart--its trump central.”
“Confidential it is,” she wrote. “I thought [Rick] Santorum was your buddy. Isn't Trump a little far left for you?”
“Santorum, [Ted] Cruz , [Jindal], Dr. [Ben] Carson, Carly [Fiorina] all great,” he wrote back. “Trump is a nationalist who embraces [Sen. Jeff Sessions’s] immigration plan.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Alexandra Preate, a representative for Bannon, responded to the emails on Tuesday in a statement to The Daily Beast.
“Mr. Bannon is not nor has ever been 'campaign manager.’ He is a volunteer — as CEO,” she said.
While Kellyanne Conway is the campaign’s manager, Bannon is an an extremely close adviser to Trump. Bannon was in the same room as Trump when he rolled out four women who accused Bill and Hillary Clinton of attacking them just before the second presidential debate on Sunday.
And it’s believed Bannon is rooting on Trump’s new antagonism of Republican leaders who have dropped him, a scorched-earth strategy that threatens a full-blown GOP civil war. Bannon previously called Republican Party’s congressional leaders, a bunch of “cunts” in 2014.
Before officially jumping aboard the Trump train, Bannon was a key figure in helping to mainstream racists who call themselves alt-right. "[Breitbart News is] the platform for the alt-right," Bannon once boasted.
It’s that alliance that has led Jones (who once wrote a Shakespearean hip-hop musical with Bannon, and who as recently as late August was calling him a close friend and “like family”) to reconsider her relationship with him.
"I don't want to know him anymore,” Jones told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “I don't care if I lose the friendship anymore.”
“I'm so disgusted at what Bannon has become,” she continued. “He's been behind Trump's campaign for over a year.”