In an interview that aired on “60 Minutes” Wednesday night, former White House official Steve Bannon described himself as a “street fighter” and President Donald Trump’s “wingman” and promptly proceeded to demonstrate both qualities.
Bannon defended President Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville, and specifically called out Gary Cohn for leaking sensitive information during that week.
“By the way, after the Charlottesville situation … I was the only guy who came out and tried to defend him, I was the only guy that said, ‘He’s talking about something, taking it up to a higher level, where does this all go, where does this end, does it end in taking down the Washington Monument?'” he told host Charlie Rose.
“What he was trying to say was that people who support the monuments’ staying there peacefully and people who oppose that, that’s the normal course of the First Amendment,” Bannon said. But “all he was trying to say was, ‘Where does it end, does it end in taking down the Washington Monument, does it end in taking down Mount Rushmore, does it end in taking Churchill’s bust out of the Oval Office?'”
Bannon lashed out at those in Trump’s circle who refuse to defend the President — or worse, actively subvert him.
“When you side with a man, you side with him,” he said. “I was proud to come out and defend President Trump in the media that day.”
Bannon rejected Rose’s assertion that there are times at which a White House official’s breaking from the president may be justified. “You can tell him, ‘Hey, maybe you can do it in a better way,’ but if you’re going to break with him, then resign,” he said.
“The stuff that was leaked out that week by certain members of the White House, I thought was unacceptable,” said Bannon. “If you find it unacceptable you should resign.”
When Rose asked Bannon about whom he was speaking, the former strategist didn’t hesitate. “I’m talking obviously about Gary Cohn and some other people,” he replied. “If you don’t like what he’s doing, and you don’t agree with it, you have an obligation to resign.”
“So Gary Cohn should have resigned?” asked Rose.
“Absolutely,” Bannon responded.
Bannon also noted that his mission, now that he’s back at the helm of Breitbart News, was to defend Trump and his agenda. “I’m gonna be his wingman outside for the entire time,” he said, “to protect”[him],” presumably from Cohn and other Establishment standard-bearers. “Our purpose is to support Donald Trump.”