10 Things You Should Know About Steve Bannon
Steve Bannon was born in Virginia, in 1953. Over the course of his life, he has managed to complete a series of educational milestones and held many different leadership roles. Some of his involvements include banking, movie production, and work in the US Navy. He also has had involvement in a massive project looking at climate change, which is quite a switch from the typical climate denial rhetoric seen from many rightwing politicians.
During the election campaign, he was an active member of Trump’s team as the campaign CEO. As an extension of that role, Steve Bannon has recently been appointed White House Chief Strategist by the Trump administration. Similar to a few of Trump’s other appointments, Bannon’s suitability for his role in the White House has been questioned. While supporters tout his naval experience, opponents cite concerns about his ties to Wall Street.
His morals have been questioned harshly, as a number of troubling statements have come to the public eye since his appointment to Trump’s administration. His leadership role in an alt-right media outlet is causing some concern as well. While it is clear that many supporters of the alt–right community hold anti-Semitic and white supremacy views; it is difficult to prove that the media outlet and its leadership hold those views as well. Members of both the Democrats and the Republicans wonder what he will bring in the next four years. Here are 10 things that you should know about your Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon:
10His Parents Were Democrats
Steve Bannon grew up in Norfolk, VA, with his parents Doris and Marten Bannon. They were blue collar workers, and they lived a modest working class life. It is common for parental political leanings to shape the children. That is not the case for Steve Bannon; his parent were life-long democrats. They were proud supporters of the Kennedy administration, and very pro-union. His father worked as a telephone lineman, and eventually landed in mid-management.
However, Steve Bannon managed to grow up and turned into an activist for the alt-right. He claims that this was because his introduction the Navy showed him Carter’s administration had been poorly done, leading him to become a supporter of Reagan. The alt-right, which Steve Bannon aligns himself with, is a political segment in the US where even the general Republican Party is too liberal, and a hard stance is taken against anything that could be seen as anti-American. The alt-right is considered to be an unpleasant group of racists, xenophobes, and nationalist bullies by a significant portion of the population.
Steve Bannon describes his alignment with the alt-right in a more positive light. He claims that the fact that many racists happen to like the alt-right policies does not make their policies racist. Bannon sees the policies of the alt-right as a way to get rid of the out of touch politicians, on both sides of the aisle. He produced a documentary titled Battle for America in 2010, detailing his views on the political environment in the US. Many of the films Bannon has produced show what his political views are.
9 Steve Bannon has a Diverse Education
He attended the private all-boys school, Benedictine, in his childhood years, and graduated in 1971. His first post-secondary education was a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, which he received from Virginia Tech in 1976. During that time he served on the student government association at Virginia Tech and was at one point the president of that organization. It is thought that his success in the school’s political environment played a part in Bannon’s interest in politics.
He continued to further his education over the years. He received a master’s degree in national security studies, and he also earned an art’s master’s degree. Both of those degrees were received from Georgetown University. In his Bloomberg profile, his art’s degree is just listed as Other Education. This shows you just how much and arts degree is quite out of the ordinary for a man in his position. Even his urban planning education is apparently more applicable to his current endeavors.
Finally, in 1985, he graduated from Harvard, and he was award an MBA degree with honors. This was a more understanding line of education for Steve Bannon, as he later went on to become the vice president of Goldman Sachs. While some of his schooling aspirations fit with an investment banker turned politician, such as the MBA and national security studies; the art’s degree seems a little out of place. However, you will see Bannon has some traits and interests that are not common in the typical right wing politician, and certainly a surprise for the alt-right that he aligns himself with.
8 He Served in the US Navy
Steve Bannon served in the US Navy for seven years. His service was during the late 70’s and early 80’s and was before the master’s degrees he received in national security and business. Supporters of Steve Bannon cite his previous naval experience as a qualification for his current role in the White House, stating that he has great knowledge of the world and its workings.
He was a junior officer on the USS Paul F. Foster during the Iran Hostage Crisis and witnessed firsthand an epic failure of the US Navy. The ship he was on was sent to trail helicopters, which would assist in the safe extraction of the hostages; instead it was ordered back to Pearl Harbor. The lack of funding to the Navy, approved by the Jimmy Carter administration, reduced naval presence; the reduced naval resources was the reason USS Paul F. Foster was called back to Pearl Harbor. Bannon states this to be the turning point in is political standpoints, and he places blame on the mission’s failure on the Carter administration.
He continued his naval career, completing a total of two at sea deployments. He then went state-side and provided support to the Pentagon for three years; his dealings during those years was mostly centered around budgets and planning. The records of his service career are quite unremarkable. He was reliable but not outstanding. Nothing in his records can really be used to provide evidence of his qualifications to be the chief strategist in the White House.
7Steve Bannon was Head of Breitbart
As you can see, Steve Bannon is not really the poster boy of the right. However, if you are to believe the ideas broadcasted on Breitbart to be aligned with Bannon’s, there is a clear alt-right leaning in his political stance. Breitbart is looked at as an extremely right-leaning media outlet, and is accused of promoting racism, sexism, and misogynistic views.
The reason that people associate Steve Bannon with Breitbart is that he was at its helm from 2012 until 2016. He recently resigned from the top post at that media outlet so that he could further his political career. At that point, he had joined with Trump on the campaign trail for 2016. The views broadcasted by Breitbart during Steve Bannon’s leadership has the American public wondering what kind of toxicity he is bringing to a top position within the White House.
Steve Bannon has addressed these concerns, to a degree. He states that the policies of the alt-right are not racist, but they do seem to appeal to many racist people. This, he claims, is why the alt-right, and media outlets that represent the alt-right, may be portrayed as racist. Bannon furthered this settlement by saying that he, personally, did not agree with any of the more harmful ideals held by many supporters of the alt-right. He did, however, state that policies of the alt-right may be just a bit nationalistic. You may find that to be a bit of an understatement, given how the Trump administration has been behaving.
6 He was Involved in a Biosphere 2
This is one of those facts about Steve Bannon that leaves you questioning what goes on in that man’s head. Biosphere 2 was an involved experiment focusing on human interaction in an enclosed environment, specifically as an analogy for outer space. Steve Bannon was involved in the project in 1991 until 1995, and under his leadership had the project shift its focus.
Steve Bannon changed the purpose of the experiment to focus on climate change and the impacts of humans on the environment. His fellow right-leaning politicians are better known for their denial of climate change, and not their interest in studying. His interest in climate change is giving some people faint hope that the Trump administration may take a stronger role in dealing with climate change. However, this dream has not come to fruition in any policies put forth by the Trump administration.
The project ended up being a mess. Technical difficulties and some poor planning plagued the entire project. There were also allegations of sexual assault and many safety issues. The issues went to court and Space Biosphere Ventures, the company running the project was forced to pay $600,000.
The facility used for Biosphere 2 is still in use today. After the court proceedings, the facility was sold to Columbia University. It was used by many students to study the effects of climate change and CO2. In 2005 it was sold again, this time to the University of Arizona, and they are currently operating the facility and continuing to study the impacts of climate change.
5 Steve Bannon has Three Daughters
Some of Steve Bannon’s parenting advice has been under considerable scrutiny. Primarily, his comments about mental health after a mass shooting. He said that if parents just spanked their kids more, there wouldn’t be such a great need for mental health services. This statement, predictably, was met with disgust and anger. People began to ask if the man had any parental experience because the statements were just so outlandish. He does have children, three of them.
Steve Bannon has one daughter from his first marriage. Maureen was born in 1988 to Steve Bannon and Cathleen Suzanne Houff. She followed Steve Bannon’s history and serves in the military. She attended West Point and now serves as a lieutenant in the Navy. Her picture is in Bannon’s main room, and provides a sharp contrast to the rest of the 1890’s styled house.
He also has a set of twins, both daughters, from his second marriage. Mary Louise Piccard had their twins in April 1995, and was married to Bannon just days before the twins arrived. Not very much is public about these two, and they seem to prefer living private lives. This is held to a high standard, giving their young ages. During the height of the election, they were not yet 20 years old, so their privacy was not to be violated in any attempts to proof Bannon’s moral standings. It is known that they attended Archer, a private girls-only school, for their middle school and high school years. That school managed to become part of the attack on Bannon’s character.
4 He was Concerned about His Daughters Attending a School with Too Many Jews
The twin girls that Steve Bannon had with Mary Louise Piccard attended a private school for their middle and high school years. They went to Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, which has a large number of Jewish girls enrolled. In support of the left’s accusations of anti-Semitic views of Steve Bannon, he was cited as complaining about the high number of Jews attending his daughters’ school. He also questioned another school about the number of religious texts that the school had in its procession.
These allegations were part of the statement that his ex-wife provided during their divorce proceedings. Also in those documents, Mary Louise Piccard claims that Bannon was concerned that the larger Jewish population would cause their daughters to become spoiled little brats, and that the Jewish influence would negatively impact their children. These statements were taken in a courthouse, and both Bannon and Piccard were under oath when taking them.
Anti-Semitism has always been something that plagues Bannon’s public figure. Bannon has continuously maintained that he has said no such things, and that he is not anti-Semitic at all. He argues that he did end up sending their children to that school, so he must not be anti-Semitic. He continues, stating that if he had such a problem with the school, he would not have sent them there for multiple years. While these comments are not proven, it does not paint the most flattering picture of the man appointed to chief strategist of the United States.
3 He Has Several Failed Marriages
Steve Bannon has been married and divorced three times. His first wife, whom he had one daughter with, divorced shortly after their daughter was born. Their marriage was mostly private, and did not have the drama that the end of his subsequent marriage had.
After his divorce from Cathleen Suxanne Houff, he remarried to Mary Louise Piccard, who soon after gave birth to twins in 1995.There were some significant allegations leveled against Steve Bannon, during Bannon’s divorce from Mary Piccard.
She has alleged that he was violent and abusive throughout most of their relationship. Piccard did end up filing with the police about an incident that occurred shortly after their wedding. She alleged that Bannon had grabbed her neck and wrist violently in a fight about money. The case was eventually dropped, but the couple did begin their divorce proceedings less than a year after it occurred.
The divorce itself was riddled with accusations and demands. The documents with Piccard’s testimony is fuel for much scrutiny of Bannon’s character. He was accused of being negligent to their children, being violent, and having bigoted views. These include the statements about their daughters’ private school, Archer, having too many Jews. As well as his concerns on his daughters being negatively impacted in that kind of environment.
She had also accused him of refusing to pay child and spousal support, and that she had to get him ordered to help pay for their daughters’ medical bills. Considering at the time, Bannon was making $500,000 a year; the refusal to provide monetary support to his children is quite astounding.
2He has Many Entertainment Ties
There are some very quirky things to Steve Bannon, and his extensive entertainment involvement certainly qualifies as quirky. The investment in media makes sense, from an investment point of view. In fact, he has a stake in the company that owns Seinfeld, so he gets residual income from every episode that is aired. Breitbart has also provided him with great income over the years.
He has worked on some feature films, such as Titus and The Indian Runner. Mostly involved strictly on the financial side of the movies’ production. His investment company, Bannon & Co. deals significantly with entertainment and media, which provides him access to these types of films.
The rest of his participation in film seem to be entirely politically driven. Taking his films at face value, you see a man who certainly fits the alt-right stereotype; very opinionated, angry, and somewhat fearful. You can get some great insight into Steve Bannon by looking into the movies that he gets behind.
Almost all of them have an apocalyptical feel to them, where good people struggle against oppressive governments. There are many non-fiction films that he is attached to through several different roles. Numerous of these follow the trend of portraying whom he thinks of as heroes, like Ronald Reagan’s portrayal in In the Face of Evil: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed. He also uses films to highlight the flaws and misdeeds of those he sees as enemies. This is very clear in the film Clinton Cash, where all the unsavory aspects of Hillary Clinton are aired.
1Steve Bannon was a Goldman Sachs Banker
As with several other of Trump’s appointments to the White House, Steve Bannon was an investment banker for Goldman Sachs. This decision is very much a counter to the argument that Trump made during the campaign race, where he promised to “drain the swamp” of the Wall Street corruption in the White House. Supporters of the right are quick to remind you that Steve Bannon has been removed from Goldman Sachs for quite some time.
Steve Bannon joined Goldman Sachs in the late 80’s, after completing his MBA at Harvard. He worked with mergers and takeovers for the majority of his time at Goldman Sachs. At this time, mergers and takeovers were big business on Wall Street. His usual position was to try to defend the company facing takeover in the boardrooms, with the intent to help them at least get what they were worth. However, occasionally he had his hand in deals that ate up smaller companies. When he left Goldman Sachs, 1990, he was a vice president, and he left to start up his own investment business.
Several of his colleagues, who worked at Goldman Sachs, started a company, Bannon & Co. that focused on investments in media. This was how most of Bannon’s stakes in media companies began, including his involvement with Breitbart. His hand, through Bannon & Co. negotiated many large takeovers and sales, including selling Castle Rock Entertainment to Ted Turner. That deal is how he ended up with a financial interest in Seinfeld and four other television shows.
Like him or hate him, Steve Bannon is a very fascinating character. He has many different facets to him, and it really makes people question how he will perform in the White House. Nothing much is certain with him in the role of chief strategist, and that makes other politicians extremely nervous.
Some things about him seem to lean left. His involvement with arts, both in TV series’ and in movies, are more in line with the left “artsy” mindset. You also do not want to forget his involvement in the Biosphere 2 project. That was a climate experiment with a prime focus on human-caused climate change, which is anything but the expected right-wing climate change denial that would be expected.
On the other hand, he is associated with a number of right-wing traits. His leadership involvement in the alt-right media company, Breitbart, shows support of many of the more negative views of the Republicans. To further the accusations of Anti-Semitic ideals, his wife reported him complaining about the number of Jews in their daughters’ school. If you rely on his second wife, Mary Louise Piccard, to shape your opinion of him, then you are probably terrified he managed to become such a prominent member of the US government.
It is unclear what Americans will get out of Steve Bannon. Some people remain hopeful that he can bring some attention to the importance of climate change to the White House. However, like most of Trump’s staff appointments, the general public just hope that he does not make too much of a mess in the next four years.