Over the weekend, President Donald Trump accused his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, of engaging in “McCarthyism” for purportedly ordering an “illegal” wiretap of Trump Tower.
Even though Trump offered no evidence to back up his wild claims, it turns out that Steve Bannon, the president’s top political strategist, actually thinks McCarthyism was a good thing.
CNN has snagged a 2013 audio recording of Bannon interviewing conservative author Diane West, in which Bannon asks her to comment on what he believes is the unfair reputation that Sen. Joe McCarthy has gotten for his efforts to purge purported communists from the federal government.
“Today in modern pop culture, you know they call Ted Cruz the Joe McCarthy — if you want to think of who devils are it’s Ronald Reagan and those who name-names at the House Un-American Activities, the Hollywood Ten are heroes right?” Bannon asked. “Alger Hiss is a hero, right? Richard Nixon’s a villain? Joe McCarthy is a villain. Your book makes very plain that these guys were right. The place was infested with either traitors that were on the direct payroll of Soviet military intelligence or fellow-travelers who were kind of compliant in helping these guys get along. I mean, there’s absolutely no question of it.”
Bannon went on to say that he believed the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations were conducting similar campaigns in the United States that similarly aimed to subvert key pieces of the American government.
During his talk with West, Bannon also derided former President George W. Bush for calling Islam a “religion of peace” and discussed whether the entire country was at risk of being “conquered by Islam.”
Listen to the whole interview below.