Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon told Charlie Rose that before he took over Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, Bannon reminded his associates at Breitbart News that Napoleon once said, “When you set out to take Vienna, take Vienna.”
Rose interviewed Bannon for 60 Minutes, and the CBS anchor aired more of his interview with Bannon on his Charlie Rose Show on PBS on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Bannon recalled that when he joined the Trump campaign, the left and the legacy media thought Trump was bringing Bannon on because he wanted to “wreak havoc” on all of his “enemies on the way down.” Breitbart News previously noted that “Bannon said when he was announced as the Trump’s campaign chairman, the legacy media and the left saw that Trump was down 16 points in the polls and thought the campaign was heading to a 20-point deficit.”
Bannon told Rose that he knew Trump could win so long as Trump stuck to his economic nationalism message. He said he was more sure that Trump would win the election after Hillary Clinton gave her infamous “alt-right” speech.
“I thought at that time that we could beat her big,” Bannon said. “They walked into a trap.”
Bannon told Rose that when establishment Republicans were urging Trump to drop out after the Access Hollywood tape was released, Bannon told Trump that he still thought he had a 100% chance of winning the election because of how powerful the economic nationalism message was in states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Rose and Bannon also discussed Bannon’s love of history after Rose observed that Bannon’s library is one of “someone who is enormously curious about history,” especially military history.
“If you want to make an impact in the world, you have to understand both institutions and the flow of history,” Bannon said. “And one of the ways to do that is through the lives of great men and women, particularly their struggles.”
Bannon told Rose that “what you find when you study [historical figures] is every one of them that became great over time, beloved over time, had insurmountable obstacles in front of them.”
The Breitbart News executive chairman said he studies “what they had to do to overcome them” in addition to various cycles of history. He said, citing the Bible, there are “certain times of unity and certain times of disruption,” and “the study of history allows you to see that flow of history and rhythms of history.”
Bannon told Rose that he grew up in parts of the South (Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia) “imbued with history” and added that he feels like he has an advantage in politics because he has been a serious student of history since a very early age when his mother gave him history books and biographies to read.
Bannon said it is “shocking” that most people on Wall Street and in Washington, DC, “really don’t have a deep understanding of history.”