Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon retains deep admiration for his former boss, President Donald Trump, according to Keith Koffler’s new book titled Bannon: Always the Rebel.
“There’s a phrase I’m going to use that will shock you, that you never thought anybody would put together: Donald Trump and moral courage,” Bannon explained to Koffler in July 2017. “I have never seen someone I admire … more than Trump.”
Bannon returned to his position as Executive Chairman of Breitbart News after he stepped down in August 2017.
Koffler, a former White House reporter, shares several conversations he had with Bannon in his upcoming book.
Bannon explained that Trump stayed true to most of his agenda, despite pressure from the media and establishment political figures to change.
“The pressure on Trump right after he won was amazing, intense, and from every different direction—from the business community, from his friends, from the tech community—to moderate, to change, to not do this, to not do that, to go be loved, to do a whole lot of other things…than what he committed to the American people, to the ‘deplorables.’” Trump stuck to the commitments he ran on. “That is the story of this administration. I’ve had a ringside seat.”
Bannon acknowledged that Trump had a wide variety of advisers from many different backgrounds and political instincts, because he enjoyed hearing the contrasting ideas.
As Bannon put it, Trump “comes to his conclusions by the Socratic method.” The opinions he seeks are not just those of the Washington insiders. “What he does is a continual questioning of a wide range of people. He’ll ask the experts, but he will get opinions from his friends, from various business colleagues, people he respects.” He’s also not bound by conventional thinking. “He’ll ask off-the-wall questions about things,” just to probe all the angles and find an original approach. “He doesn’t just absorb information by…getting 200- page briefing papers.” Bannon argues that contrary to what Trump’s critics think, his manner of gathering information and coming to a conclusion is “very learned and very deep, and par- ticularly learned in the understanding of human nature and of how the world works, which to me, is everything.”