Steve Bannon arrest: Who is Donald Trump’s former top aide? | US News


He was once lauded as the “most dangerous political operative in America” by Donald Trump but, less than 18 months later, Stephen K. Bannon was derided as “sloppy Steve” by the president.

He “cried when he got fired and begged for his job”, Mr Trump once said of his former chief aide – who is known for wearing two button-up shirts at the same time – adding that Mr Bannon had now “been dumped like a dog by almost everyone”.

So, how did the son of a telephone lineman end up as one of the most powerful figures in the White House?

And what caused his spectacular downfall?

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 8, 2018 :  Former White House Chief Stratgist and Senior Counselor to President Donald Trump and CEO of the Trump Presidential Campaign Steve Bannon delivers a speach during a conference on the global compact for migration organised by Flemish far-right party Vlaams Belang at the Flemish Parliament in Brussels, on December 8, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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The 66-year-old likes to wear two button-up shirts

Mr Bannon, 66, was born into a working class family in Virginia.

After completing his studies, he joined the Navy during which he was deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of the 1981 Iran hostage crisis.

It was this naval service that Mr Bannon has since credited with making him “political”.

But his entry into politics would have to wait, first chasing his ambition of reaching Wall Street by completing an MBA at Harvard Business School.

He secured a job at Goldman Sachs before he and several colleagues launched their own boutique investment company specialising in media.

One deal saw him take a stake in sitcom Seinfeld, lowly regarded at the time but which has since provided a stream of royalties.

US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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Steve Bannon became Donald Trump’s chief strategist

After some time as an executive producer in Hollywood, Mr Bannon experienced a period that confirmed his standing as a political outsider in the wake of the 2008 financial crash.

“What turned me against the whole establishment was coming back from running companies in Asia in 2008 and seeing that [George W.] Bush had f***ed up as badly as [Jimmy] Carter,” he has since said.

“The whole country was a disaster.”

He became a radio host and joined the board of website Breitbart News, of which he became executive chair following the death of founder Andrew Breitbart.

He also co-founded data firm Cambridge Analytica with billionaire Robert Mercer, who also helped fund Breitbart News.

The company was later closed down in 2018 following a scandal over alleged data-harvesting from Facebook.

Prior to the 2016 US presidential election, Breitbart News – which has been denounced as misogynist, racist and xenophobic – championed Mr Trump’s candidacy.

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In August 2016, Mr Bannon was drafted in to work full-time on the Trump campaign.

He was credited with masterminding the nationalistic message behind Mr Trump’s election victory.

He followed the newly-elected president into the White House as his chief strategist.

However, Mr Bannon clashed with others in the new US administration and was forced out after seven months, in August 2017.

His exit came shortly after he was blamed for Mr Trump’s controversial response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

At the time of his departure, Mr Bannon was reported to have told friends it was now time to get ready for “Bannon da barbarian”.

Former US President advisor Steve Bannon (L) gestures as he stands next to France's far-right party Front National (FN) president Marine Le Pen after giving a speech during the Front National party annual congress, on March 10, 2018 at the Grand Palais in Lille, northern France. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN        (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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Mr Bannon with French far-right leader Marine Le Pen

He returned to Breitbart News and later founded “The Movement”, an organisation that sought to promote populist, eurosceptic and far-right politics across Europe.

Mr Bannon met with France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen and Italy’s Matteo Salvini, who fronts the Northern League, while he is said to have a close relationship with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

He also established the “We Build the Wall” organisation to secure donations to build a US-Mexico border wall.

It is this latest campaign that has seen Mr Bannon arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.



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