The White House on "McCarthyism": Bannon praises, Trump dismisses

In a 2013 interview, Steve Bannon praised Sen. Joseph McCarthy's war on communism

By Katie Serena

Published March 6, 2017 9:20PM (EST)

 (Salon/Benjamin Wheelock/Reuers/Carlo Allegri)
(Salon/Benjamin Wheelock/Reuers/Carlo Allegri)

In another turn of events surrounding President Donald Trump's Saturday morning tweets -- in which he accused former President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election -- chief White House strategist Steve Bannon found himself at the center of controversy.

The president made allegations Saturday morning that Trump Tower had been wiretapped, calling the it a "McCarthyism."

Although the president is clearly not a McCarthy fan, it would appear that Steve Bannon is.

The term "McCarthyism" is often used to reference unsubstantiated accusations or unfair investigative techniques, especially as they pertain to politics. The term began in the 1950s with Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who was well known for his anti-communist stance and claims that there were Communist and Soviet spies and sympathizers hidden within the U.S. Government (and the entertainment industry). McCarthy was eventually censured by the Senate for the controversy he created.

In light of the president's tweets, a 2013 recording was unearthed of Bannon interviewing conservative author Diane West. During the interview, Bannon asked West to comment on what he believes is an unfair depiction of McCarthy.

"Today in modern pop culture, you know they call Ted Cruz the Joe McCarthy — if you want to think of who the devils are it’s Ronald Reagan and those who name-names at the House Un-American Activities, the Hollywood Ten are heroes, right?” he asked.

Bannon went on to seemingly agree with McCarthy. "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 compare '50s era communist infiltration to what he called "a dramatic influence campaign" by the Muslim Brotherhood in Washington D.C., and discussed West's ideas that the U.S. is at risk for being conquered by Islam.

"Our diminution, our stunted mentality, actually makes us perfect candidates for being conquered by jihad, conquered by Islam, made into dhimmi, which is of course the people who live, Christians and Jews who live under Islamic law," West said. Bannon agreed.



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