tv After Words Keith Koffler Bannon CSPAN January 6, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm EST
him and him having wikipedia page, that makes them crazy. i was pleased i guess to see you don't have a wikipedia page. most conservatives like me, you can go through your wikipedia page and if you know them well it makes them more crazy. i am thrilled to have you on. i was going to ask about that made you crazy on wikipedia that were not accurate.
we do want to have you above the radar as you talk about steve bannon, your work on white house dossiers exposing so many things that have gone on in the last several years at the white house and through today, it continues to be a passion of yours. >> white house dossier is something i started in 2010. i have been a mainstream reporter for many years and i was so good at hiding my political sympathies which are fairly conservative that no one except a couple) new that i was a conservative. >> maybe that is why you don't have a wikipedia page. >> i am thankful for that. i didn't have to put my age on in addition to whatever else they might put their. i was so successful at hiding my sympathies that i was once offered a job in frank lautenberg's office and yelled
at by ari fleischer for asking questions i never would have asked the democrat when little did he realize i probably agreed with everything he was saying but felt it was my duty to hide my political sympathies something that is much less so in the mainstream media. the white house dossier, the idea was to do accountability on president obama and a sense of humor and analysis and news and credited the white house still as a reporter with white house dossier, all through most of his presidency i held him to standards and pointed out things he was doing wrong, things that both objectively and from a conservative standpoint as well as today with donald trump sometimes it is saying wait a second, what are you doing but also the media is treating him unfairly,
so that is the purpose today is that still continues and that i'm passionate about. >> sometimes people take offense when actually one of the most liberal trial lawyers, plaintiffs lawyers, democrats, a three day seminar, and jump across and shake his hand. to explain something, that is troubling people. you have seen it too many times today and got questions.
and to come after you and be aggressive and certainly gave bannon fair treatment in your book so i would like to get to the book, which you start with a prologue as the rebel. you go through, got quotes from the family, who did you talk to. >> i talked to all his siblings, two sisters, older brother, younger brother, older sister, younger sister, it was a close-knit family. he goes home to richmond, when, with his crushing schedule, at the white house and still now and they adore him. interestingly among siblings, i since no resentment among them for his success, only pride in
it. the most startling person i talked to in his family was his dad. he was 95 when i talked to him and now he is 96. i saw bannon at an event. >> host: on top of things. >> guest: sharp as a whip, has this ironic sense of humor and is able to remember little vignettes from the 1940s about how he was drafted as a professional baseball player but didn't pay like it pays now. >> host: it was $50. >> guest: something like that. trying to get him to come on but didn't report, 75, they were open to it and got it. >> guest: he and his son joke he was a holdout. but back then, the country had come out of the depression, a
much more stable job, going to get married and so forth and work with the phone company and that is -- unfortunately, professional baseball career, ended with his dad. very sharp, fungi, chapter 2, born fighter but chapter 2 seemed to expose the guy who is getting into politics. tell us how he was run into politics. >> guest: he was at virginia tech and he was involved in this and that, he decided to run for student body president, but wasn't the next in line. even then at virginia tech there was an establishment to
oppose. every organization, there is a group and expected success, he was the rebel. the fact about bannon, his rebelliousness is always for something, fighting for some particular cause. he is a rebel by nature but not a thoughtless rebel without a cause. they are trying to get students more involved in decisions they were making, a lot of changes, he decided to challenge the orthodoxy, represent the average man, the average student at virginia tech, and a little bit of political acumen early on. on his ticket. to run with him on the ticket.
they had worked together and respected each other enormously. today i spoke with her, speaks glowingly about him. fighting for the same thing the is fighting for like the average student fights the establishment and they work well together and thing in the last decade or so admitted women, more and more women in the electorate, and that helped towards the victory and became student body president. >> host: very much actively involved the vice president, quite influential and positions they took. >> guest: you here today that she said that as a woman, he
empowered her entirely and i spoke of that in the book about how he let her do her thing, wasn't overbearing, and complete confidence, in the 1970s, participating in the student government. >> host: with steve bannon and donald trump, they had unsuccessful marriages and the president seems to be in a successful marriage now, and there mil on --milania was and the kids and she looked like an angel but a lot of people think that with regard to steve bannon and the president must not be very good and working with them because have had
failed marriages. it is a bit of a dichotomy there because stephen and the president have worked successfully with women. we have done the research, talked to the women he has worked with from what you say in the book you work with very well. did you find any women you worked closely with that had problems with him, overall negative opinions? >> guest: i didn't hear anybody express that opinion. i talked to a lot of people from college and today at breitbart many women working on staff, when he was in the white house his key aid, julia, a brilliant young conservative women who worked for him at breitbart, focusing on immigration and other issues,
and -- so smart that almost impossible. she helped him a lot and a key assistant of his. he is close to his wife susie. it was just the 2 of us but his first wife susie had been there with his daughter, hanging out in washington and so forth, just didn't pick up, he can be a rough guy, he will admit this, he has a bit of a temper but i don't think it discriminates whether it is male or female in the line of fire but if any of the southern gentleman in him would refrain a little bit from far and away. >> host: not sure about that part. something that was driven, but
they seem to be much more forgiving but they immediately tell you they may disagree, on the wrong track, they won't think anything out. they seem to be very blunt and may disagree, but ten minutes later, that is not supposed to be carried on because we are moving on, we are beyond that. >> guest: what people told me as it is not personal. it is about the job. he will get very blunt and does have a temper. it is because he wants to get whatever job needs to get accomplished done. he has very high standards, maybe too high. he works endlessly. there was one time i was trying to get in touch with him and
someone said try him at 1:00 in the morning, text him then because then he is easier to get, he doesn't sleep much, works hard and expect that of other people. in the book, his businesses, people would say i don't have it done or my kid is sick, that is your problem, personal problem, get this done. he can be tough, even unreasonably tough sometimes but he is driven like you say. >> host: many of my communications with andrew breitbart were 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, late nights at work, i wondered if that helped draw them close together, they both endlessly and up much of the night, i do that a lot myself but always had a great rapport with andrew and in fact knowing andrew, he introduced
me to bannon, he never said a whole lot when i was around, when andrew was around, but he has plenty of opinions but it surprised me, i was going four years, bannon finished, got his degree at virginia tech. he has no military commitment, he is free and clear, he has great potential offers coming, he did so well, smart guy, what was the purpose of that. >> guest: his friends at virginia tech, his family said that, an offer from phillip
morris in richmond, do a lot of things. that was the employer there and had a major off of their, had been raised with a sense of duty, kennedy democrats like old-style democrats. >> the first catholic to have a great shot at being president, a lot of catholic families whether they are republican or democrat, each one of us. did you get that feeling from the family? >> a sense, kennedy is in the navy, a hero, and wanted to be
in the military. small technical issues served in world war ii, there was always a sense of fulfilling this mission, a large part of his motivation, what i wanted for the family, you go out on a destroyer which he did and sail around the world and used to be a fighter when he was young, a sense of duty, it did surprise a lot of people that fit with the way he was raised to go in the navy six years ago. >> one of the hits on people, it is true in 2008, we saw the work goldman sachs come out,
unrestrained greed to the forefront but this seems to be such a mutually exclusive part of a person, here is this guy that would work for goldman sachs, a reputation after 2008, it is not them. he walks away from all of that, goes and joins the navy, not just for one or two years, how long was he in? >> six years, three years in washington as an aid. >> and enjoyed the time and was very reliable and some group he was part of, supposed to help in emergencies come up with solutions. >> guest: when he was in
washington, bannon's attitudes, a bias towards action. his superiors in the navy could get out of line a little bit, and got things done. weather was on a shipper washington, when he was in washington there was a task force formed by one of the senior people, through the bureaucracy, and bannon was involved in that. >> host: it helped draw bannon and donald trump together. >> similar personality, don't wait. sometimes maybe trump moves too quickly, there is a similar personality like that. >> host: chapter 6 is generation 0, explain generation 0.
what caused you to name that chapter generation 0? >> guest: generation 0 was the name of the movie bannon did which talked about the 2008 crash and the idea was the future was being robbed, americans given the wealth that was loss and what is being accumulated, the generation that exists now which is the millennials and younger people, when you look at the size of the deficit, we will have nothing left. >> host: where was he working in 2008 when the crash happened? >> guest: he was still out in california doing his own
business but -- he had left goldman sachs a long time ago. he went out to california and without their to drum up business for goldman sachs but then formed his own firm, doing his own business, but increasingly he got into documentaries, making his own conservative filmmaking. initially made one about reagan in 2004 and in 2008 started making other documentaries related to the tea party and conservative movement. how the elite especially got off scott free in the crash. to the establishment -- >> host: that was the head of goldman sachs, former head,
let's lehman brothers go because he couldn't stand them. fair and balanced so to speak. hank paulson targeted them. he was out there and got into the moviemaking business. where did he get the title generation 0? >> guest: you talk about generation x and generation y, the generations may have nothing less, the debt continues to build, to meander along and her president obama we see a revival but there is as you know. a great parallel out there in that $20 trillion in debt and when you look at entitlements, something like $70 trillion that is owed, conservative
maybe, maybe it is more than. that is the idea, the elite in washington, they will do okay. the average people face something. he took that from his dad, and -- >> host: so consistently, it worked for at&t. >> guest: he had put his money away for years. traditional savings, save like a regular fellow and had a little money stuck on retirement, he hoped to pass that on to kids or grandkids and so forth and all of a sudden the over lending that
has occurred, rapacious profit motive. >> host: profoundly affected them. >> guest: he loves it. >> host: his dad lives so much and stays faithfully all these years. >> guest: he lost all this money, others go running to hank paulson and say help me out, give me a break here, nobody to help someone like his dad. >> host: ironic to see all the comments from the antagonist bannon to say he is about the money but you read the book and start tracking his life, his life has not been all about money. you talk about a place he had on long island, had a chair, a
caught, called it sparta, it was in florida. >> guest: he did go, this was, people will see this as an inconsistency, he did go to goldman sachs, made himself a multimillionaire and part of that was growing up when he did, sort of a middle-class family and the way he -- i asked about that, he said what money did more than any give me freedom and gave me the freedom to do things i wanted and also the contents, he wanted to make a lot of money and did that. if you look at how he lives, someone told me he had several houses, and put books on them. he doesn't live lavishly, and interview him in his home on
capitol hill for a total of 10 hours. breitbart embassy, it is not a lavishly awarded place. not terribly concerned about material possessions. that freed him to do with what he wants in terms of promoting what he believes in. >> host: they say not only is he about money, but might be a white supremacist when you dig into his life. that is not steve bannon. going back to college it seems you gave us a lot of foreshadowing during college years for things to come. he goes out when nobody -- to be co-owner of an election, yet
they are running mates running together and a little foreshadowing for his embrace. running for vice president, you spend some time explaining how he could see such greatness. >> he wanted her to be president, but she was one who would come to washington and stick to her guns. unlike you, so many people come to washington saying one and maybe even believing it and just forget about it and once they are here they get caught up in special interests and need money to get reelected and so forth but what you say about raids. in terms of people talking to him personally, there was nobody i could find who said he was racist, anti-semitic. even if you look at breitbart most of the senior leadership at breitbart's jewish and breitbart was jewish.
it becomes difficult. >> host: andrew's closest friend larry in california, deeply touching, larry and breitbart. >> guest: race as well. this wasn't someone i interviewed, a liberal senior executive in hollywood, came out and said i worked with steve bannon for years out there. i have to say even if it hurts me in hollywood the man is not a racist, the charge people put against him and allowed the comment section to have too many people with white supremacist views and so forth and the way he viewed that, the
comment section, they do regulate it, you are forewarned and it is a tough place but in terms of breitbart stories, when you look at the stories, they don't have racist content to them and even a new york times article in august which said breitbart is not the alt right in terms of the articles as perceived today in terms of articles that are produced. on a personal level there was nobody that felt he was a racist. grew up as a liberal, his mother was very liberal in richmond, virginia. several people who knew him said she was very vocal about african-american right at a time when people do not want to hear about that. that was part of his thinking
promises, that team player intimidation, nobody wants to be viewed as just a fly in the ointment. want to be a team player. seems to have disengaged so many from the things they came here to do, and having talked to steven, he sees that it drives him crazy. in the humane economy -- i thought that was an interesting title for a chapter burt that's writ gets into some of his feelings and he has seen the way it affects everybody. skin color doesn't matter when people are hurt by an inhuman economy, it's deeply troubling to him. you had some good quotes in there, around '98, as we were talking about it and i'd ask if you would mind reading that
>> guest: this is where it -- what you're talking about, he -- i think carrying about money as well and elite. he wants to turn the republican party, i found out, speaking with him, basically into a working class party. he feels that the democrats are beholding to sort of identity politics and things like that. he thinks the republicans can go and take the working class from the democrats where a lot of. the have traditionally been and bring them into the republican party, and it's ironic because people criticize him as this arch conservative but a lot of his ideas can sound almost sort of liberal to a lot of republicans and that his -- he wants his focus not so much on corporate america and k street, which are the lobbyists here in washington, but on protecting the middle class, protecting the working class, making sure the
working class doesn't disappear so his agendas to go out and convince average working class people that it's republicans who have the best policies for them. mess talking about race, he believes that republicans need to get at least 30% of the african-american working class vote. at least 30% of the hispanic working class vote, and then we'll run the country for 50 years. sometimes he gets a little dramatic, might even have said 100 years, which is a long time. but nevertheless, that's sort of his agenda. that's what this goes to. he said, until we have the black working class and hispanic working class getting high-valued, added jobs what he was failed as a society. so me citizens first women don't need a million immigrants in the country, particularly we don't need a million immigrants that don't come with any real set of skills and that's where his concern win immigration comes
in. not thang the minute you say anything about limiting immigration, you're a racist and you hate hispanics and so on and so forth. his view is that you -- is that you need to support people of all races and colors in this country without this sort of unlimited immigration. he's not against immigration but is against the kind of immense numbers of people coming in and supplanting jobs for people who are here in the working and middle class, whether they're black, hispanic, or white. so that's the point that he is getting at. >> host: well, seems to be where we are from candidate trump on the stump as well. >> guest: yes. >> host: and i wondered, candidate trump got invitation to come to african-american churches and he seemed to be right at home. >> guest: he did. it's interesting people say about trump. bannon actually does believe
that trump believes things. if you talk to the press or talk to democrats, he is just an tunist, a businessman. bannon actually think that trump shares his ideology which is why they're still very much allied. and remember who trump is also. he's someone oh has been working in construction, he's been -- this is one of the reasons he deals -- he connects so well to average people is that he has been on job sites constantly, and talks to people, and so this idea that there's some kind of white supremacist agenda here is wrong. in fact, just recently, bannon was speaking at a meeting of organization that is seeking to attract black entrepreneurs into the republican party. he is actually -- this is the second time i've heard in the last several weeks where he has addressed a black group. this is something that republicans don't do enough. they don't go into african-american neighborhoods, give speeches and say, hey,
here's why conservative principles are going to help you beyond identity politics and so forth. bannon believes everybody essentially wants the same thing ultimately. they want to have successful families, want to have successful jobs. black people, hispanic people, that's where he thinks the republican message needs to be. go into the poor neighborhoods and talk to people and say, hey, how has the welfare state done for you? you have the poverty rate just about where it was in 1965 when lyndon johnson started the great society? how are things going, hoarse the alternative. that's how he wants to expand the republican party and it's misunderstood when people throw out the white supremacist label and just call everybody a racist. >> host: you have hear the quote from the humane economy that you think capture -- >> guest: hers a good one. goes right -- from bannon, yeah. i didn't put a lot of keith
koffler quotes in here. so directly contradicts something we heard obama say constantly. bannon says, we are a nation of citizens. we're not a nation of immigrants. we now -- so now we have to start to act like citizens come first. all policy should be oriented to making the working people in the country and the middle class in the country have a better shot at success and we have gotten a. from that. what we have done is brought in huge global competition for their jobs and for their schools. what he is saying is he is not denying that we're all immigrants ultimately, but that is not the core. it's immigrants who come here and become citizens who he is notice -- he told me, i'm not a multiculturist. he believes people -- yes, the braining their cultures into the united states, affect the culture, but it should be a melting pot and not sort of a mixing bowl of different
cultures all over he place. >> host: justice clarence thomas told a group recently, in this i country we have lost our unim. we have lost our oneness. that sounded like the way you're describing. >> guest: that's exactly. we need to assimilate the people that are coming in. >> host: so, the tea party came along in 2009. >> guest: right. >> host: what drew him to that initially? you got a chapter here "tea party warrior. pea pea. >> guest: he felt that, again there was this washington consensus of elite establishment republicans, and the tea party, he felt, was the vehicle for actually changing things, actually getting away from some of the policies, for actually doing things like reversing
obamacare, which was a huge part of what the tea party was supposed to -- was about. reducing taxes. he felt that there needed to be -- that there was this revolution occurring at the base, which he thinks is happening again with trump, and that -- >> host: but some on the left has helped turn the term "tea party" into virtually pejorative when actually racist -- you see these groups and even in the middle of them -- steve is in the middle of them. these are not racists. these are working people that are paying taxes and they're tired of carrying much more than their load, but so a apparently was just instantly part of it. these were his folks. >> guest: they were very much his folks, and, again, the way he saw them as average working class people. not just looking to implement
conservative economic principles but also to try to save the culture to try to -- that these were people who had a lot of traditional values that made this country great. breitbart and bannon also agreed on a notion that economic is downstream from culture and the culture makes for hard-working, industrious people, often people of faith, who feed this economy, that is so great. and that's where his -- he believes also that the middle class -- this is one reason why he is so focused on the middle class and working class -- he thinks unlike the elites of the day, the middle class and the working class embrace the traditional american ethic. you used to have -- teddy
roosevelt, his -- joseph kennedy, jfk's father, lost a son in world war ii. and that the elite had the american ethic. he thinks people in new york and los angeles, that's changed in terms of people and money. >> host: what do you think? >> guest: i -- >> host: did he persuade you? sunny think he did. personally, i think that -- again, i don't know if i've gone through all the statistics and everything like that but my feeling is that when you look at people who graduate from a lot of these elite institutions, there's not a same attendance at church, which-0 or synagogues which is important for a moral foundation. it's more sort of middle class and working class people who do that, and personally, i think that they've lost a lot of that. there's -- i tend to agree with him that these are the people
who are still -- embody a lot of the values that we saw with the founders of the nation. a lot of these traditional values. people who are not just looking at average people as commodity. the want to work a full day and not just looking for a way to leverage any amount of money they can make and i tend to believe that it's true. i don't know if can prove it but it's my feeling. i'm from new york and lived in washington for a long time. that's what i see. it's funny, virginia -- the funny thing. my wife was just saying when you go into the old virginia and you talk to people who are just like -- believe in the second amendment and believe in -- >> host: clinging to their god and gun snooze clinging to their god and guns. it's an easier conversation because they just are on the
level and nobody is trying to sort of one-up you necessarily, and i just -- i guess it would be more a feeling i have. personally i would want to read more and understand more about it, but i do tend to agree with him that he is right, that the middle class is -- are now the bearers of the culture and the ethic in this country. >> host: culture so much was from judeo-christian values, and traditionally i didn't realize the spiritual depth that steven had until i read your book. that's a big part of who he is. >> guest: a big part of who he is and i was surprised. in my research nor book i was talking to a friend of his. i asked him what influenced steve. he said, you might want to start with the bible. i'm like, bannon? he said, yeah, new testament and old testament. maybe more than new testament, but old testament, too.
he is tremendously influenced by it. so when i talked to him, i asked him about that, and he -- they grew up in richmond as catholics and weren't just sunday catholics. they were everyday catholics and that's what the -- his family and what the society was like there, and it is affected him in a couple of ways. first of all, his concern for average people, and his concern for your fellow man, and then of course as i reveal in the book, he was a drinker at one point in his life, actually, i think, since high school, basically. he went to a catholic military high school and he was like -- even said it's the irish catholic thing and your machismo is rated by how much you're drinking, and he was drinking in college. but he didn't say he was quite an alcoholic.
the way he put it to me was that i didn't have a drinking problem, but i didn't have a drinking solution, either. which is kind of finessing it, i guess, but the mid-1990s he realized is it was starting to affect his work too much and he tells a story how he came home to watch his daughter play basketball, might have been coach egg the team. i forget. because he had been working in europe where he said they drink constantly. that's writ got to him. they drink at lunch and all the time. and he came back and he -- took some redeye back to california from europe, and there was a six pack of beer in the refrigerator. and had been having bloody maries and champagne on the plane and he saw the six pack and thought, that is great, the only thing i have in the fridge, and he drank five of them and thought, wait a second, and
looked at himself in the mirror and said, even though i was 40-pounds lighter than i am now i couldn't believe what i was seeing help looked at that last beer, and he drank it, and that was the last one. he used his catholicism, old catholic texts, written by st. thomas, st. ignatius, to help right him. as he described it to me, they filter out other things in your life that are not very meaningful and focus you on what is important and on god and on jesus and he said basically you pray, and he got into a regimen he says he does to this very day, that helps him even with all the criticism that comes at him and so forth but also helped keep him sober. he says, for 20 years, and i was a little surprised when i showed up at the breitbart embassy, i figured -- the look at him -- i
thought he would give me a beer and we would hang out and have beers together. i got this eight-ounce can of coke, and he opened up to me about drinking in his second interview and the role of catholicism and the higher power which you see in the twelve step programs. >> host: in your chapter "bannon and breitbart," he really seems to have hit his love, the way you describe it. so, what do you think in that chapter best describes him at breitbart? >> guest: well, i think he basically got a vehicle to try to -- the documentaries only reach so many people. >> host: we didn't talk about that other than initially he got into making movies, "generation zero 'o. >> guest: on the tea party, on
sarah palin, made a documentary on her and on women in -- actually made a -- talking about women -- made an entire documentary about tea party women, that women were leaders in the tea party. but at breitbart, what he -- after andrew breitbart tragically died, he took over and i think what bannon did was he added some of his business aku can acumen to his ideology and turned breitbart into kind of a machine, and there he was able to do the news but do it in a way -- do stories others weren't doing it, do it in a way that revealed the corruption, he feels, of the elite, doing away that promoted values that were important to him, and really get his message out there. he expanded it of a country. got a radio show. i think it helped connect him much more withtrump ultimately so breitbart became a true love
and something he was very passionate about, but game a ground zero of the populist, nationalist movement he was ban spurring and leading. >> host: any quotes help describe him -- >> guest: the breitbart chapter there. yeah. he said -- i wrote, bannon was blunt, who would imagine. he said, we're never going to beat the democrats until we beat the real enemy, which is the establishment republicans because they stand for nothing. all they stand for is money and power. right? and we can take that on and defeat it. and that was a lot of what breitbart said. it wasn't -- >> host: that's so opposite of the image that is projected of him. desiring money and yet he wants to defeat the moneyed powers
that be. >> guest: right. >> host: amazing. >> guest: exactly. the political influence he has, which he feels never changes anything -- the one thing said is we have welfare in this country -- also came out in our interview and the book -- welfare in the country for two people, the very poor and the very rich. the very poor, you know, it's not even the very poor but a lot of people have some form of government assistance, and basically the wealthy are in washington, angling for all kinds of tax breaks and gifts from government and so forth, and so that is what upsets him as much -- or probably more than any money that goes into the mid -- >> host: the midding class -- >> guest: basically the ones to who get to a certain salary and don't qualify for stuff. so he was definitely trying to fight the elite and the benefits they get out of washington. >> host: so, he ended up in the trump campaign beings a individualors to donald trump --
being adviser to donald trump. you have a chap material "the president's strategist." seemed like he -- particularly he and kellyanne conway made a difference in the direction the trump campaign took, especially after the republican convention. >> guest: yes. >> host: any insights you got from him on trump niksch -- trump, any good quotes? >> guest: i think what he did with -- let me see if there's a quote in here that i might have marked on trump. yes. this was on trump's isolationism, which i can work into, but basically what he did was he emphasized trump during the campaign to stay on message. he said you are the agent of change. hillary is the establishment.
she is the old order. stick to that. stick to your nationalist populist message, and i think the quote i have here, one of the misconceptions of trump is that he is an isolationist, which he is not and bannon is not either. what they are more concern about is the international trade deals that possibly subvert u.s. law and impinge on u.s. law, and also that end up helping out mercantilist policies like those of china and harming the middle and working clays by exporting our jobs overseas, unfair trade deals. but still, trump went and prosecuted the war against isis and he was over in saudi arabia, trying to arrange basically an alliance of arab states against iran and there's a lot he does internationally, and often says he wants fair trade deals and
not the ones we had. the quote from bannon is, bannon says people misunderstand the thinking within trumps'mer federal ideology. her says it's not isolationism and doesn't mean never intervening overseas and then the quote, it's a false thing to say he is an isolationist. he is anything botanies layingsis-wallet he is not is a globalist. no knot going to let the power of the united states be dissipated out at these international organizations. no one has gone in and engaged with islamic opportunity as donald trump did in the speech in saudi arabia in may 2017, which is what was referring to where his audience includessed the leaders of more than 50 muslim majority nations and told them they had to take the lead in come batting islamist radicalization. so, where he does believe the united states needed to get involved is when the national security interests are truly threatened, not just anywhere, not just leading from behind and overthrowing people -- moammar
gadhafi and libya because because we feel like it. this where is the national security interests are truly threatened, that's where he believes that we should still be involved. >> host: interesting, i was surprised a republican u.s. trade rep told me that -- i said, done seem like we got a very good deal. he said you got understand, since we're the biggest economy in the world, anything that helps other countries will eventually help us. i didn't really buy that at the time and it appears very clear that steven and president trump don't buy that either. >> guest: no, they don't. >> host: there are bad deals for america where we lose. >> guest: where we lose, right. i think even some of the recent thinking among even mainstream economists about nafta has a lot of plus and minuses too it. that not every -- even mainstream economists see that
as an absolute win. for bannon, it's ultimately like are you going to have a manufacturing sector in this country? he believes you still need to make things. >> host: there are those that think it's an evolving process to get to being a service economy, whereas it seems that steven understands what president trump understands, if you can't manufacture what you need in a time of war you will not be a power after the next war. >> guest: right. >> host: pretty clear. >> guest: that's the a tradition stretching back to the founders. what bannon is talking about is something called -- again, he's very widely read and extremely knowledgeable, it's something called the american system. so the first protectionists that we had in this country were george washington and alexander hamilton and they believed we needed to support manufacturing in this country to oppose the british who were the big laissez-faire country and through world war ii, a lot
of -- the country was fairly protective of its industries, and prospered before it because of it, bannon believes, and that this -- what is known as the american system or hamiltonian economics needs to to be reinstituted today to protect manufacturing in the country. >> host: we only have a couple minutes left. you spent a lot of time with steven k. bannon. you heard his goals. you talk about what he wants to do. what odds do you give him for being able to help reach those goals? >> guest: you want me to be utterly honest or hopeful? i did tend to agree with a lot of what he says. think there's -- i think there's a decent chance because i think
bannon believes the electorate has already changed. remember, in the republican primaries, people elected trump -- the other candidates, the establish. candidates, jeb bush, marco rubio, self of the others, were perfectly legitimate candidates. you can disagree with them but they were solid individuals who could be president. wasn't running against -- one year they called them the stendwarfs. they were good candidate and yet the chose trump. even in the general election, trump was victorious, despite obvious flaws in trump -- not a perfect person, trump would certainly admit that himself -- and despite a lot of controversy, they elected him. what bannon believes is that already the longing for populism and nationalism is there. he believes it's already victorious among the base.
where it has not changed is in washington, in the leadership in some part of the republican party, particular he the senate and that is what is driving him. so i think there's a chance, i think people voted for trump because they believed that the culture was slipping away, that the country was slipping away, and even though he wasn't a perfect candidate, that he was the one, as we talk about good, to washington on cheng. we was going to washington and wasn't going to change and he hasn't, and bannon didn't either. so i think there's a decent chance. >> host: well, it is exciting. it's a great book, and you did an excellent job. it's tough to encapsulate a man in just a matter of a book like this. excellent job. thank you. >> host: a lot of provoking thought for anybody that is thinking about politics, and it also seems to me you have flaws in bannon, trump, as we all do,
but they don't want to race to judgment on somebody like roy moore until they get the full story. do you think there's any of that there, as we conclude? >> guest: i think there is some of that there. one of the things also that bannon said to me in this -- where his catholic faith comes in-is that man is fallen and man is not perfect and we can't expect man to always be perfect, and i think that probably informs some of his thinking -- >> host: but also knows there's an awful lot of folks that aren't as bad as they're being paint it as big as well. he being right at the top of the list. >> guest: ey. >> host: thank you so much. it's been a real pleasure visiting with you and look forward to reading more, the white house dossier, and thank you for being with c-span today. >> guest: all my pleasure. enjoyed it very much. >> host: thank you.