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Steve Bannon: Trump voters, you’ve got to support ‘RINO’ to save Trump

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steve bannon
Steve
Bannon.

Associated
Press


  • Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief
    strategist, says the upcoming midterm elections will be an
    up-or-down vote on his impeachment.
  • Bannon says that’s even more true after Trump’s former
    lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty and former Trump campaign
    manager Paul Manafort was convicted.
  • “The hard thing we have to do is convince the Trump
    voters that, ‘Hey, there may be a RINO in your congressional
    district, you may not like the guy, he may not like Trump. It
    doesn’t matter. That fight is past us.'”

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, one of the
Republican Party’s loudest anti-establishment voices, wants those
who voted for President Donald Trump to cast ballots this fall
for “RINOs” — or “Republicans in Name Only” — if they have to.

Trump’s entire presidency is depending on it, Bannon told
Business Insider in an interview.

Bannon, months after being castigated by President Donald Trump
following his comments to author
Michael Wolff
, recently launched Citizens of the American
Republic, a political action group.

Already, Bannon says the group of 25 people includes former Trump
campaign officials such as Michael Caputo and will be advising
multiple pro-Trump surrogates.

Bannon is also soon to release a new film, titled “[email protected]
The film highlights what the president has delivered to his
supporters and makes the case that Trump’s presidency is under
threat.

That’s the central theme of Bannon’s message.

“This is President Trump’s first reelect,” Bannon said. “It isn’t
2020. It’s now.”

Bannon says that following the guilty plea from Michael Cohen,
Trump’s former longtime lawyer, and former Trump campaign manager
Paul Manafort’s conviction, it’s clearer than ever that the fall
election is an up-or-down vote on whether Trump should be
impeached. Trump has speculated on that possibility himself,
telling Fox News he doesn’t
“know you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job.”

Democrats, on the other hand, have been very leery of discussing
impeachment
. One Democratic Senate aide, requesting anonymity
to speak candidly on impeachment, told Business Insider Cohen’s
plea deal and Manafort’s guilty verdict don’t change anything
immediately but do set the stage for possible actions after the
special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is released.

“There’s nothing the White House and Republican strategists want
more than for the midterms to become a referendum on
impeachment,” they said.

‘The first thing they’re going to do is move toward impeaching
him’

Bannon says Democrats are making a clear calculation in not
discussing impeachment ahead of the midterms.

“They don’t want to talk about it because they know it fires up
our base,” he said, adding, “they know it, and we know” that
Democrats will move to impeach Trump if they regain power.

“The first thing they’re going to do is move toward impeaching
him,” he said. “To start full investigations. To have subpoena
power. And they’re going to do it because they have an energized
base.”

Polling shows that the opinion on impeachment is fairly split.
A Politico/Morning Consult survey
last week
found that 42% of voters believe Congress should
begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, while another 42%
say it should not. 


donald trump trump tower
Donald
Trump.

Drew Angerer/Getty
Images


Bannon’s attempt at a comeback is not something for which
Republican leaders were necessarily pining.

Establishment Republicans scorned him for wading into the Alabama
Senate primary last year ahead of the special election Democrat
Doug Jones eventually won. He chose to back former state Supreme
Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, the right-wing candidate who was
later accused of sexual misconduct with teenagers when he was in
his 30s. Moore defeated Republican Sen. Luther Strange in the
primary but lost to Jones in a major upset.

Bannon said he hasn’t spoken with the president about the midterm
plans but has discussed his strategy with people close to Trump.

“The hard thing we have to do is convince the Trump voters that,
‘Hey, there may be a RINO in your congressional district, you may
not like the guy, he may not like Trump. It doesn’t matter. That
fight is past us,'” Bannon said.

He added: “I’m the most anti-establishment guy out there. And I
have said there is a time you have to have those fights, and then
there is a time you have to support the guy whether you totally
agree with him or not. That guy is going to vote against Nancy
Pelosi. That’s all that matters right now.”

Bannon said Trump voters may have to “ring doorbells” and “go get
out the vote” for them as well.

“If you have a problem because of a RINO, you’re going to have to
get over that,” he said. “Because what happens if he loses is so
catastrophic.”

Bannon pointed to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s reelection race as
an example. After a recent visit to Texas, Bannon estimated that
“10 to 20% of Trump supporters are still upset” about Cruz
refusing to announce his support for Trump at the 2016
convention. Bannon wants those voters to “get over it” because
Cruz’s race against Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke is “so tight.”

“That was then, this is now,” Bannon said. “Trump needs that
Senate seat, he needs that vote. And most importantly, we need
Cruz to run strong because there are three or four House seats in
Texas that will be impacted by that race.”

Bannon said the Trump base must acknowledge that the left is
fired up and going to turn out this fall.

“People can’t sit here and think that they’re not motivated
because they are and they’re energized,” he said. “And so that’s
what we have to go up against. And for people to think that left
is not energized to impeach Trump are kidding themselves. They
are not out there to work with Trump post-November 6.”

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