A new book on the 2016 election reveals Steve Bannon is exactly like his caricature

A tell-all from the campaign trail gives us dirt on Bannon, Trump, and Chris Christie

Published July 18, 2017 2:20PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

"Saturday Night Live" may have lampooned Steve Bannon by portraying him as the Grim Reaper, but, according to a new book that dishes on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, that depiction may not have been completely off the mark.

"Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency," by Bloomberg's Joshua Green, reveals President Trump and his staff's relationships in a behind-the-scenes look at the 2016 presidential campaign.

Excerpts from Green's book confirm the theory that Bannon — the chief executive officer of the Trump Campaign and former executive at Breitbart News — had enormous influence over Trump's agenda. More importantly, it adds fuel to the explosive rumors that Bannon passionately detests House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

One amusing anecdote from Green's book, as HuffPost reported, revolves around the time Bannon called Paul Ryan a "a limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation," an insult Bannon lobbed when he feared Ryan would take the Republican nomination from Donald Trump during the Republican National Convention. Bannon also threatened to sic the alt-right trolls on Ryan, noting, "Pepe’s gonna stomp their ass."

Bannon also had an interesting backup plan in case Hillary Clinton won in November. He wanted to “fuck her up so bad that she can’t govern,”  adding that if she “gets 43 percent of the vote, she can’t claim a mandate."

If you're wondering why Trump would allow Bannon to be part of his campaign, the answer may be that the two aren't too different in terms of management style.

Trump would curse out his staff and delegates, Green wrote, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort (now under investigation for connection to Russia).

Trump had an explosive way of telling Manafort he was being replaced, yelling at him in front of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes, Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates, according to a report on the book from the Daily Mail.

"How can anybody allow an article that says your campaign is all fucked up?," the then-presidential candidate said. "You think you've gotta go on TV to talk to me? You treat me like a baby!" "Am I like a baby to you? I sit there like a little baby and watch TV and you talk to me? Am I a f***ing baby, Paul?"

According to Green, the whole room "fell silent" after that.

It wasn't only Manafort who drew Trump's ire. Trump's relationship with Chris Christie allegedly fractured on Election Night — because Christie wanted President Barack Obama to call his phone, instead of Trump's. According to the Daily Beast's report of the book:

Chris Christie fell completely out of Donald Trump’s favor when the New Jersey governor arranged to have President Obama call Christie’s cellphone to congratulate Trump on election night, according to a just-released book about Trump, Steve Bannon, and the campaign. “‘Hey, Chris, you know my fucking phone number,” Trump told Christie, according to the book, Devil’s Bargain, by Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Joshua Green. “Just give it to the president. I don’t want your fucking phone.” Trump, a germaphobe, was reportedly disgusted by the prospect of having Christie’s phone near his face. The interaction was, according to Green’s book, a critical error for Christie, a former Trump insider who was subsequently fired from his role as transition chief and received no role in the administration.

The Daily Beast reported that a Christie spokesman called the story "complete fiction." Though we have never heard a more sound explanation as to why Christie wasn't given a place in the Trump administration.

By Michael Glassman

Michael Glassman is on Salon’s Breaking News team. You can find him on Twitter at @warnkemg

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Chris Christie Devil's Bargain Donald Trump Elections 2016 Paul Ryan Steve Bannon