Steve Bannon hires Breitbart writer Julia Hahn, one of Paul Ryan's fiercest critics, as a White House aide

Julia Hahn has been a thorn in Paul Ryan's side. Now she's going to be a White House staffer

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 24, 2017 1:28PM (EST)

President-elect Donald Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus, left, stands with his chief strategist Steven Bannon during a rally at the Wisconsin State Fair Exposition Center, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in West Allis, Wis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)
President-elect Donald Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus, left, stands with his chief strategist Steven Bannon during a rally at the Wisconsin State Fair Exposition Center, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in West Allis, Wis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)

White House strategist Steve Bannon, who was best known as executive chair of Breitbart News before becoming CEO of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, has now hired one of House Speaker Paul Ryan's personal trolls as a White House staffer.

Right-wing commentator Julia Hahn, who will serve as an aide to Bannon as he fulfills his role of White House strategist, has accused Ryan of fleeing "grieving moms trying to show him photos of their children killed by his open borders agenda" and claimed that he was secretly leading a "months-long campaign to elect Hillary Clinton," according to The Washington Post on Monday.

"She’ll be Bannon’s Bannon and make Bannon look moderate," said conservative writer and editor at large of the Weekly Standard William Kristol when talking to The Post. "Her tendency is to fight and fight, often to the extreme."

The Post also claims that "a number of House Republicans" confided to the newspaper that they believe Bannon's hiring of Hahn is a sign that he could go on the attack against them if they defy Trump's will.

"This is obviously a provocative act and clearly an intentional act," said Peter Wehner, an official who has worked for three Republican presidents and is a personal friend of Ryan's. "Bannon is willing to napalm the bridges with congressional Republicans." He also added that many Republican congressmen are making the mistake of believing that "Bannon and Trump aren’t taken seriously even though Bannon and Trump are operating in a serious way and bringing on people who are going to work for their cause, not for conservatives."

By contrast, former education secretary William J. Bennett, who is also close to Ryan, told the Post that "my sense is that Trump has a good feeling these days toward Ryan and that the feeling is mutual. I’m hopeful those feelings will continue." Similarly, Ryan's spokesman Brendan Buck insisted that Ryan "could not care less" about Hahn's hiring.

Steve Bannon's tenure at Breitbart was marred by the site's increasingly racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT, and anti-Islamic tone. Trump's decision to give Bannon a key White House role has led many to fear that the white nationalist movement known as the alt right will have dangerous sway under his presidency.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Illegal Immigration Julia Hahn Paul Ryan Steve Bannon