White House chief strategist Steve Bannon lashed out at the media Wednesday, calling news agencies “the opposition party” during an interview with The New York Times, the paper reported on Thursday.
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated, and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,” Bannon told The Times during the phone interview.
Bannon insisted on being quoted as calling the media “the opposition party” to President Donald Trump’s administration, The Times reported.
“They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States,” Bannon said.
Trump’s administration has been engaged in a bitter battle with many news agencies since the days of his presidential campaign. Tensions have only increased since Trump was elected and took office.
During the weekend, several members of Trump’s team attacked the media over its representation of the crowd size at his inauguration.
This resulted in presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway’s use of the phrase “alternative facts” while defending White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s claim that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period,” despite photos showing a very different turnout.
Shortly before assuming office, Trump argued with reporters at his first news conference since July, which culminated with him refusing to answer a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta and calling Buzzfeed “fake news.”
Trump was affronted by Buzzfeed News’ release of — and CNN’s reporting on — an unsubstantiated dossier that suggested Russian operatives may have compromising information on him.
Bannon is the former head of the ultraconservative Breitbart News and served as the Trump presidential campaign’s chief executive. As chief strategist he is largely responsible for Trump’s nationalistic tone and is tasked with bringing the president’s vision to fruition.