Joshua Green - How Steve Bannon Shaped the Trump Campaign in "Devil's Bargain" - Extended Interview

Extended - August 21, 2017 - Joshua Green 08/21/2017 Views: 25,749

"Devil's Bargain" author Joshua Green explains Steve Bannon's influence on Donald Trump's political career and weighs in on the former chief strategist's political future. (7:56)

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Please welcome Joshua Green.

(cheering and applause)

Welcome to the show.

-Thank you, good to be here.-And what perfect timing.

Steve Bannon is outof the White House,

and many people have reported

that it is partly becauseof this book.

You wrote a book and you putDonald Trump and Steve Bannon

on the cover together,and apparently,

Donald Trumpdoesn't like to share.

No, he doesn't.

You know, I was told bya White House official, uh,

you know, Trump's not gonnaread your book.

But he's gonna lookat the cover,

and he's gonna seethat Bannon's name

actually comes before Trump'sname on the book, which it does.

I don't know if we havethe cover here, but, uh...

Oh, wow. Yeah.It says "Steve Bannon,"

then it says, "Donald Trump."

That's what it sayson the cover.

Yes. So, uh, Trumpdoesn't like costars,

and I think the fact that,(laughs)

that Bannon got top billingin the book was problematic.

I-I think it was morethan just the book.

It seems likewhen you talk about

Bannon's story in the book--

And wh-what's really greatabout this story,

is you take us intowho Steve Bannon is,

because in many ways,Steve Bannon is a myth.

There are many peoplewho don't know

what Steve Bannon sounds like,what his ideas are,

who he is or what role he playsin the administration.

But Donald Trumprelied on Steve Bannon

for a lot of his ideas.

Why did that happen andhow did that come to be?

Well, Bannon is alwaysunderestimated

because he comes fromthe political fringes.

You know, he looks like a guywho drinks wine

from a paper bag, so you don't,

you don't see him,you don't see him coming,

and-and perceive him,and-and perceive him

-as-as a serious guy anda threat. -That's right.

But what people don't getabout Bannon

is that one-on-one in person,he's got a lot of charisma.

He's very smart,he's profane.

You know, if you're aWomen's Studies major

at Wellesley, he's probablynot your cup of tea,

-Right. -but if you're a guy,like Trump,

you're this steak-eatingreal estate developer,

this alpha male, you know,it makes sense

why they would really click.

W-What about his views, though?

You know, he connected withDonald Trump, and many people--

and you argued this in the bookvery convincingly--

Five years ago,Donald Trump

and Steve Bannon met,around that time.

And he began a process

of indoctrinating Donald Trumpto his ideas.

I mean, you listenedto old interviews

of Donald Trumpand Steve Bannon,

and Trump seemed like he wasmore left-leaning.

Bannon was alwaysanti-immigrant,

anti, you know, globalization.

He was anti all of this.

How did he begin to changeand shape Donald Trump

into who he wanted him to be?

Well, so, Trump has alwayshad these populist impulses.

He-he has pr... you know,pretended to run for president

at various points,all the way back to '87, '88,

-when he usedto go on Larry King. -Right.

Um, and in the mid-2000s,he was actually...

he had an entirely differentpolitical persona.

When he was, uh,the host of The Apprentice,

he was actually more popular--I tell this story in the book--

he was more popularwith black and Hispanic viewers

than he waswith the white viewers.

So he could have runa different kind of campaign.

-Right.-But he met Steve Bannon,

and I think Bannongave him this idea that, uh,

anti-immigration s...anti-immigrant sentiment--

this hard right populismis really what was gonna connect

with the Republican base.And Trump-- and I-I give him

a-a backhandedsort of credit for this--

I think Trumprecognized that, yes,

this is the path to powerin the Republican party.

It's not a big tent,welcome all comers, uh,

-pro-business message like hehad on The Apprentice. -Right.

It was... You go hard rightafter immigration, uh,

and all-all the litany of issues

that we heard Trump talk abouton the campaign trail.

We-we look at Steve Bannon beingkicked out of the White House

or him leaving--they say it was mutual--

uh, do you haveany insight as to,

A, whether or notit was a mutual decision

and, more importantly,what changes we'll likely see

in the White House now that Steve Bannon has left?

You know, I talked to Bannonright after he left,

and he claimed that he wasn'tfired, that this was mutual.

Uh, but he ison the outside now.

But, having said that...

Trump likes to keephis villains close by.

Um, you know, Omarosadidn't win The Apprentice,

-but she never really went away.-Right.

Uh, I don't think Steve Bannonis gonna go away, either.

Huh. Interesting.So do you think

he'll keep him aroundfor advice, do you think

he'll keep him around justas a character in his story?

I thi... I mean, this issort of, like, the most, uh,

incredible seasonof The Apprentice.

So, yes, I thinkhe'll keep-keep him...

keep him around,uh, and invite him back.

But Trump has a habitof firing people, uh,

and then turning around andsoliciting their advice anyway.

-So he fired his firstcampaign manager, -Right.

Corey Lewandowski--kept calling him.

Uh, he fired his second campaignmanager, Paul Manafort--

uh, kept calling himuntil his lawyers made him stop

because of the Russia scandal.

You know, I-I suspect that,after, you know, firing

or-or, uh, consciouslyuncoupling with Steve Bannon,

that he's still gonnahave Bannon on speed dial,

and that Bannon is gonnahave a-a way in to Trump,

and to make his, uh, adviceknown if he wants to.

Steve Bannon was reportedto say, uh,

"Now that I'm out,now that I'm on the outside,

-I can be more effective."-Mm.

Many Breitbart editorswere tweeting, you know,

"#war" and "This means war."

Who is the war on?Is Bannon still a Trump guy?

Or is Bannon now going to goafter Trump?

Or is Bannon going to goafter the ideas

that Trump is forced to choose

because of who he's workingwith?

So, the story I tellin the book, basically,

is that Bannon gave Trumpa set of ideas.

Trump always hadpopulist impulses,

but Bannon fleshed this outwith policy ideas.

And it wasn'tjust anti-immigration

and building the wall.It was to say,

"Look, America needs a lessinterventionist foreign policy."

-Right. -And "America needsto blow up its trade deals"

and do a whole laundry listof things

that Bannon really thoughtTrump would do,

-uh, if they made it to theWhite House together. -Right.

That's the bargain in the titleof my book.

And I think Bannon's frustrationis that that hasn't worked out.

The Trump presidency has gonecompletely off the rails.

And so what he meansby going to war

is that he is gonna fight forthose same ideas on the outside,

uh, not necessarilyby taking on Trump directly

but by using what he called thekilling weapon of Breitbart News

to go after Trump's enemieson Capitol Hill

and, I think, uh,in the administration.

So, people like H.R. McMaster,

-the national security advisor;-Right.

uh, Gary Cohn,the top economic advisor;

and, of course, Jared Kushner,the son-in-law.

All the people that he didbattle with in the White House,

he's now freed up from outsidethe White House

to go after them publicly.

How powerful would Breitbart bein this instance?

How powerful will they bein shaping public opinion?

And how powerful will they be,more importantly,

in shaping Trump's opinionfrom the outside?

You know, that isthe million dollar question.

And I think, um,that part of the reason

that Trump surprised peopleand won the nomination

was that people--and I include myself--

didn't understand the powerthat Breitbart

and its-its populist,nationalist message had.

-Right. -Uh, but it was popular,and it was popular enough

to get Trump elected.Barely but elected.

Uh, I think thatif Bannon continues to fight

for these ideas on the outside,that what he could wind up doing

is driving a wedgein the Republican Party

between the people who likethese ideas and voted for Trump

and the people who say,"No, no, you know,

"our country has gonecompletely off the rails.

We've got to steer backin a more moderate direction."

It's a... it's an amazing book.

It's a really fascinating storythat you're telling.

It gives us so much insightinto a man who had more power

than more people perceived.

And, most importantly, you wrotea book about Steve Bannon,

and then he got fired. So...

who's the next book about?

Jeff Sessions?

That's all we want to know.

-Thank you so much for comingto the show. -Thank you so much.

Devil's Bargain is availablenow. Joshua Green, everybody.

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