In a fascinating interview with the American Prospect on Wednesday Steve Bannon called white nationalists “a collection of clowns,” undercut the White House position on North Korea and argued he wants the left to “talk about racism everyday.” But according to a report by Axios, the president’s chief counselor thought that interview was off the record.
Axios reports Bannon told associates he didn’t intend to be interviewed by the American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner, and did not believe the reporter would write a story with his quotes.
“Since Steve apparently enjoys casually undermining U.S. national security, I’ll put this in terms he’ll understand: This is DEFCON 1-level bad,” a colleague of Bannon’s told Axios.
“What will Kelly do when he sees this?” another colleague asked, referring to new chief of staff Gen. John Kelly, who was brought on to bring order to Donald Trump’s chaotic White House.
Trump on Tuesday defended Bannon as definitely not a racist, but stopped short of saying the former Breitbart CEO’s job in the West Wing is secure. Considering some in the White House—including ousted communications director Anthony Scaramucci—believe Bannon is a “leaker,” this on-record interview may once again call that job security into question.