Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon revealed what happened behind the scenes of the Trump campaign after the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape.
In his first extensive interview since leaving the White House, the Breitbart News executive chairman spoke to “60 Minutes” about the fallout and slammed then-Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus for his advice to Trump.
The October 2016 release of the infamous audio from a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump made inappropriate remarks to host Billy Bush about women, sent the campaign into crisis mode and, according to Bannon, was a defining moment.
“Trump went around the room and asked people the percentages he thought of — of still winning and what the recommendation,” Bannon recalled in his interview with Charlie Rose set to air on “60 Minutes” this Sunday.
“And Reince started off and Reince said, ‘You have — you have two choices. You either drop out right now, or you lose by the biggest landslide in American political history.’ And Trump, with his humor goes, ‘That’s a great way — that’s a great way to start our — start our conversation,” Bannon said.
The short-sighted advice from Priebus, which Trump reportedly never forgot, was the polar opposite of that from Bannon.
“And I told him as he went around, I was the last guy to speak, and I said, ‘It’s 100 percent. You have 100 percent probability of winning,'” he recalled.
“He goes, ‘Come on, it’s not 100 percent,'” Bannon said of Trump’s reaction. “I go, ‘It’s absolutely 100 percent.’ And I told him why. ‘They don’t care.'”
“Did you lose confidence in anybody because they came to you at that point and said, ‘Look, he ought to get outta this race,’ other than Reince Priebus? I mean, did your attitude towards those people who said that, they were just wrong?” Rose asked the 63 year-old former chief strategist.
“Absolutely. The Billy Bush Saturday to me is a litmus test,” Bannon replied. “Billy Bush Saturday showed me who really had Donald Trump’s back to play to his better angels. All you had to do, and what he did, was go out and continue to talk to the American people. … People didn’t care. They knew Donald Trump was just doing locker room talk with a guy. And they dismissed it. It had no lasting impact on the campaign. Yet, if you see the mainstream media that day, it was, literally, he was falling into Dante’s Inferno.”
Bannon confirmed Rose’s observation that he “took names on Billy Bush Sunday.” He apparently never really trusted Priebus, who was to become White House Chief of Staff after the election, to be loyal to Trump after this time.
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