18:11 GMT23 November 2020
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    The former Trump campaign CEO and White House chief strategist held nothing back when he railed against Republican politicians who refused to adopt the attitudes of much of the party base and support the president.

    In an interview with The Hill published Friday, Bannon, who left the White House in 2017 and was later disavowed by Trump after the publication of Michael Wolff's book 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House', expressed support for Trump against establishment Republicans going into the 2018 midterm elections.

    Going after the Koch brothers, the billionaire industrialists involved in organizing campaign donations for the Republican Party, Bannon called their fundraising operations a "scam" run by "con artists." "It's an open secret in conservative circles that they are a scam, ok? And that's why no big donors are with them anymore," Bannon said.

    Trump had attacked the Koch brothers earlier this week, accusing them of being "globalists" and a "total joke in real Republican circles" after Charles Koch criticized the president's trade policies as being "unfair" to other countries and accused Trump of being misguided on immigration.

    Bannon told The Hill that the Koch Bros were symptomatic of a wider problem in the Republican Party. "The apparatus – the donor class – by and large I think still opposes President Trump, particularly the larger donors," he said, pointing to the mere handful of senators who could be counted on to support the president's agenda.

    "You're not going to be able to hide Trump. The opposition is going to force this anyway…You have to go all-in. If you try to go in half-baked, it's not going to work," Bannon insisted, offering the Republican Party tips for the mid-terms. 

    Bannon also attacked House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, calling him a "lame duck" and saying he "should have been removed" as soon as he announced he would not be seeking reelection. He went on to suggest that Mitch McConnell and other GOP heavyweights who were slow to show support for Trump's candidacy in 2016 had effectively ridden into office on the president's coattails.

    As for John Kelly, the former US Marine Corps general who replaced Bannon as Trump's chief of White House staff in 2017, Bannon insisted that his position was merely formal. "Gen. Kelly is there for more administrative matters," he said, stressing that his power has "definitely diminished."

    Most Twitter users reacted to the Bannon interview with questions about why The Hill gave the former Trump official attention, and complaints about why it didn't ask him the tough questions.

    Others argued that Bannon's attack on the Kochs was an act of "biting the hands that can feed him" and suggested that the former advisor "doesn't understand" that the president no longer cares about his former advisor's opinions.

    Others made jokes about a 'Bannon vs. Koch bros death match', or voiced their vexation over the fact that he was risking breaking apart the right by sparking a conflagration within the Republican Party

    Trump publicly broke with Bannon in January following the release of Fire & Fury, telling the US media he felt "betrayed" and saying that the former chief strategist had "lost his mind" after being sacked. "Steve doesn't represent my base — he's only in it for himself," Trump said.


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    reaction, remarks, interview, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, US
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