NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — In a rare public appearance, White House chief strategist Steven Bannon outlined the administration’s progress toward a “new political order” after President Trump’s victory.
Bannon appeared alongside White House chief of staff Reince Priebus for a Q&A at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington today, with the two putting on a unified front despite reports of conflict. “It’s all good,” Bannon said.
“In regard to us two, I think the biggest misconception is everything that you’re reading,” Priebus said. “We share an office suite together. We’re basically together from 6:30 in the morning until about 11:00 at night.”
The former Republican National Committee chairman said “after overseeing 16 people kill each other, it was Donald Trump that was able to bring this party and this movement together.”
“And Steve and I know that and we live it every day,” Priebus added. “Our job is to get the agenda of President Trump through the door and on pen and paper.”
Bannon said Trump’s campaign success was “all in the speeches.”
“He went around to these rallies, but those speeches had a tremendous amount of content in them, right? I happen to believe, and I think many others do, he’s probably the great public speaker in those large arenas since William Jennings Bryan. This was galvanized,” the former Breitbart chairman said, adding that Trump is “maniacally focused” on the agenda promised on the campaign trail.
Bannon stressed three “lines of work” for the administration: “national security and sovereignty,” “economic nationalism,” and “deconstruction of the administrative state.” He said Trump dropping the Trans-Pacific Partnership was “one of the most pivotal moments in modern American history.”
“If you look at these cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction. The way the progressive left runs is if they can’t get it passed, they’re just gonna put in some sort of regulation in an agency,” he said. “That’s all gonna be deconstructed and I think that that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.”
A “new political order” is “still being formed,” Bannon said.
“But if you look at the wide degree of opinions in this room — whether you’re a populist, whether you’re a limited government conservative; whether you’re libertarian, whether you’re an economic nationalist — we have wide and sometimes divergent opinions,” he continued. “But I think we — the center core of what we believe, that we’re a nation with an economy, not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders, but we are a nation with a culture and a reason for being.”
Priebus noted that “different things that come to the president that want to move him off of his agenda and Steve is very consistent and very loyal to the agenda and is a presence that I think is very important to have in the White House and I consider him… a very dear friend and someone that we — that I work with every second of the day in — and actually we cherish — I cherish his friendship.”
“Yeah, you know, I can run a little hot on occasions,” Bannon responded. “Reince is indefatigable — I mean, it’s low key, but it’s determination. The thing I respect most, and the only way this thing works, is Reince is always kind of steady…but his job is, by far, one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever seen in my life.”