Top White House aide Stephen Miller said during a highly contentious interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that former presidential strategist Stephen Bannon’s recent criticisms of Donald Trump Jr. were “grotesque.”
Bannon, who managed President Donald Trump’s 2016 general election campaign, was quoted in controversial author Michael Wolff’s new book describing as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian attorney in June 2016.
Also in that meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya was then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Bannon also told Wolff he believes Kushner, now a White House adviser, had committed money laundering.
Bannon’s comments were previewed in Wolff’s just-released tome, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” Trump immediately responded last week, calling Bannon disloyal and a leaker and saying he “lost his mind” when he was fired from the presidential staff.
But the White House dispatched Miller to Jake Tapper’s CNN show on Sunday morning to answer questions about Bannon’s remarks.
“It’s tragic and unfortunate that Steve would make these grotesque comments so out of touch with reality, and obviously so vindictive,” Miller said.
Miller also defended the remarks Trump made on Saturday in which he called himself a “political genius” who made billions of dollars and then won the White House in his first political bid.
“The reality is that the president is a political genius who won against a field of 17 incredibly talented people, who took down the Bush dynasty, who took down the Clinton dynasty,” Miller said.
The Tapper-Miller interview began with the two men allowing each other to speak — but it went downhill steadily. Tapper became visibly offended when Miller questioned CNN’s accuracy and objectivity.
Miller accused Tapper of being condescending and said CNN has had “24 hours of negative anti-Trump hysterical coverage” — coverage that led to spectacular mistakes.
“Stephen, settle down,” said Tapper. He then pressed Miller on how influential Bannon had been in the campaign and the White House.
“His role has been greatly exaggerated,” Miller said of Bannon. “Whereas the president has not gotten the due that he deserves for the movement he put together.”
Miller said CNN ignores key Trump issues like illegal immigration, the violent MS-13 gang, and working-class construction workers who have lost jobs to foreign labor.
Tapper accused Miller of being a “factotum” for Trump, and further insulted Miller by saying that he — Miller — only cared about impressing Trump.
Tapper became visibly offended when Miller questioned CNN’s accuracy and objectivity.
“There’s one viewer you care about right now, and you’re being obsequious,” said Tapper. “And I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time.”
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To add insult to journalistic injury, CNN reported the fiery exchange on its website, calling it: “CNN’s Jake Tapper cuts off WH aide after he refuses to answer questions.”
(photo credit, homepage and article image by CNN)