Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist of Donald Trump’s White House, said in an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday night that he was concerned Republicans could lose their majority in the House of Representatives next year due to Trump’s decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
“I'm worried about losing the House now because of this-- of-- because of DACA,” Bannon said during the interview. “And my fear is that with this six months down range, if we have another huge-- if this goes all the way down to its logical conclusion, in February and March it will be a civil war inside the Republican party that will be every bit as vitriolic as 2013. And to me, doing that in the springboard of (the) primary season for 2018 is extremely unwise.”
Bannon went on to say he’d advise the White House to suggest to DACA recipients they they “self deport” as their work permits expire, by telling them that “there's no path to citizenship, no path to a green card and no amnesty. Amnesty is non-negotiable.”
Bannon, who returned last month to the position as chairman of Breitbart News that he left last year to become the CEO of the Trump campaign, also reflected on the early days of the transition after its surprising victory.
“In the 48 hours after we won, there's a fundamental decision that was made,” Bannon said. “You might call it the original sin of the administration. We embraced the establishment. I mean, we totally embraced the establishment. I think in President Trump's mind, or President-Elect Trump's mind, in-- in Jared's mind, in the family's mind, I actually agreed with the decision. Because ya had to staff a government. And-- and—and to be brutally frank. You know, the-- the-- the campaign-- look, I'd never been on a campaign in my entire life, right? You know, I'm-- I'm a former investment banker who's a media guy, runnin'-- a little website. We were-- our whole campaign was a little bit the island of misfit toys. So he looks around and I'm wearin' my combat jacket, I haven't shaved, I got-- you know, my hair's down to here, and he says-- he's-- he's thinkin'. "Hey, I've gotta put together a government. I've gotta really staff up somethin'. I need to embrace the establishment."”
He went on to say that in the first meetings the nascent administration had with “the Republican establishment,” a bold plan was laid out to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, reform taxes and focus on infrastructure legislation all within the first year.
“By the Easter break, we'll do repeal and replace,” Bannon said. “Come back from Easter, and all the way up to the August break, taxes. Come back from the summer break, on Labor Day, and we drive home to the end of the year on infrastructure.”
While he avoided directly blaming House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the flagging legislative agenda, Bannon said “There is wide discrepancy in the Republican Party” and predicted that “I think their choice is going to be you're not going to be able to totally repeal it,” referring to Obamacare.
At the end of the interview, Bannon said that new Chief of Staff John Kelly’s efforts to streamline the administration won’t impact the president himself, at least on Twitter.
Trump “knows he's speaking directly to the people who put him in office when he uses Twitter,” Bannon said. “And it sometimes is not in the custom and tradition of what the opposition party deems is appropriate. You're-- you're absolutely correct, it's not. And he's not going to stop. And by the way, General Kelly I have the most tremendous respect for and has put in very tight processes. He's not going to be able to control it either because it's Donald Trump. It's Donald Trump talking directly to the American people. And to say something else, you're going to get some good there. And every now and again you're going to get some less good, okay? But you're just going to have to live with it.”