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Former Trump Aide Bannon Vows to Continue Supporting President

  • VOA News

FILE - Steve Bannon, former chief White House strategist to President Donald Trump, is seen in Harrisburg, Pa., April 29, 2017.

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has said he will continue supporting President Donald Trump, despite the fact he was dismissed last month from the White House.

In a wide-ranging interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Bannon called himself a “fighter” and said he would ensure Trump’s enemies are aware there will be “no free shots on goal.”

“I'm a street fighter,” Bannon said. “By the way, I think that's why Donald Trump and I get along so well. Donald Trump's a fighter. Great counter puncher. Great counter puncher. He's a fighter. … I'm going to be his wing man outside for the entire time.”

Bannon said he was the only person in the White House that defended comments Trump made following violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that left one woman dead. Bannon criticized other members of Trump's staff that broke with the president over the issue.

“My problem — my problem, and I told [White House Chief of Staff] General [John] Kelly this — when you side with a man, you side with him. I was proud to come out and try to defend President Trump in the media that day,” Bannon said.

Trump received heavy criticism after he said many sides, including white supremacists and members of Antifa, a violent far-left organization, shared blame in the violence that took place.

Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, left, walks away from reporters after television interviews at the White House, Sept. 1, 2017, in Washington.
Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, left, walks away from reporters after television interviews at the White House, Sept. 1, 2017, in Washington.

White House economic advisor Gary Cohn said he seriously considered resigning following the comments made by Trump and that the administration “must do better” to condemn the white supremacists.

"Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK," Cohn said in the interview with Financial Times.

To this, Bannon told CBS, Cohn’s comments were “unacceptable” and he should “absolutely” have resigned.

“If you're going to break with him, resign,” Bannon said. “The stuff that was leaked out that week by certain members of the White House I thought was unacceptable. If you find it unacceptable, you should resign.”

In a separate portion of the interview, Bannon took a swing at the Catholic Church and its response to the debate over illegal immigration in the U.S., saying the church profits from illegal immigrants.

“Unable to really come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens, they need illegal aliens to fill the churches. It's obvious on the face of it,” Bannon said. “They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.”

Bannon, a Catholic, said he respects the pope and the church “on doctrine,” though he argued the debate over illegal immigration isn’t about Catholic doctrine.

“This is not about doctrine. This is about the sovereignty of a nation. And in that regard, they're just another guy with an opinion,” he said.

Bannon’s remarks to CBS were part of his first televised interview since he left the White House. Following his departure, Bannon returned to the far-right website Breitbart, where he serves as the site’s executive chairman.

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