Bannon: 'The Republican Establishment Is Trying to Nullify the 2016 Election'

By Susan Jones | September 11, 2017 | 7:38am EDT
Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist for President Trump, appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes," his first television interview, on Sunday, Sept.10, 2017. (Photo: Screen grab from CBS)

( - "The Republican establishment is trying to nullify the 2016 election. That's the brutal fact we have to face," President Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon told CBS's "60 Minutes." The interview aired Sunday night.

Bannon said Mitch McConnell and "to a degree" Paul Ryan "do not want Donald Trump's populist, economic, nationalist agenda to be implemented. It's very obvious.”

CBS's Charlie Rose asked Bannon for a story to illustrate his point:

Well, Mitch McConnell, when we first met him...he said I think in one of the first meetings in Trump Tower with the president as we're wrapping up. He basically says, I don't want to hear any more of this draining the swamp talk. He says, I can't even hire any smart people because everybody's all over them for reporting requirements and the pay, etc. And the scrutiny. You know, you gotta back off that.

The drain the swamp thing was Mitch McConnell, was day one, did not want to go there, wanted us to back off.

Bannon said the Republican establishment will not help Trump unless they're put on notice that they're going to be held accountable if they do not support him.

"Right now, there's no accountability," Bannon continued. "They do not support the president's program, and it's an open secret on Capitol Hill. Everybody in this city knows it."

Bannon said "absolutely," he is going to go to war with Trump's opponents, now that he's left the White House and returned to his journalism perch at Breitbart.

Bannon defined the swamp as a "successful business model" that's been 50 years in the making. He said it comprises donors, consultants, lobbyists and politicians who feast at taxpayers' expense -- the permanent political class of both parties.

"Seven of the nine wealthiest counties in America ring Washington, D.C.,” he noted. "You're not going to drain that in eight months. You're not going to drain it in two terms. This is going to take 10, 15, 20 years of relentlessly going after it.”

Later in the interview, Bannon noted that the Republican establishment insisted on doing a repeal and replacement of Obamacare as the first order of business in the Trump administration.

"Paul Ryan and these guys come in and say, ‘We've done this for seven years. We've voted on this 50 times. We understand this issue better than anybody. We know how to repeal, and we know how to replace, and this is ours. That's what we're going to start with day one. And we will have something on your desk by Easter. By the Easter break, we'll do repeal and replace.’”

Repeal and replace was supposed to be part one of a plan to accomplish three major legislative goals in the first year, Bannon said.

After scrapping Obamacare, the plan was to tackle tax reform and get that done by the August break, followed by infrastructure legislation that would pass by the end of the year.

"That was the deal," Bannon said.

And so far, none of it has been done.

Bannon said he believes the Republican establishment is now working on a plan to fix Obamacare, not replace it. "I think the choice is going to be, you're not going to be able to totally repeal it," he said.

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