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Steve Bannon — President Trump’s chief White House advisor — just made a very revealing statement while addressing right-wing activists.
The overall theme of Bannon’s speech was “deconstruction of the administrative state,” when taking into account the policies he is pursuing. He also told the audience that Trump’s cabinet appointees “were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction.”
Bannon’s remarks help give context to President Trump appointing ideological enemies of certain federal agencies to then lead those same agencies. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was recently confirmed as EPA administrator despite suing the EPA 14 times over environmental regulations, usually on behalf of oil companies. On his own LinkedIn, Pruitt describes himself as a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”
The statement also explains why Trump appointed former Goldman Sachs executives Steve Mnuchin to head the U.S. Treasury and Jay Clayton to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mnuchin is an avowed opponent of financial regulations, and pledged to repeal them as Treasury chief. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has called for the defunding of public housing, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who now heads the Department of Energy, couldn’t even remember its name while calling it for it to be abolished during a presidential debate.
Betsy DeVos was appointed Secretary of Education without having any experience in public schools, and stating that she wanted to force public schools to teach Christian dogma. Even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is purging the State Department of longtime staff, including senior-level officials, suggesting American foreign policy may soon take a “deconstruction” approach.
However, coverage of Bannon’s CPAC speech mainly focused on Bannon characterizing the news media as “the opposition party” and encouraging everyone listening to distrust anything negative the media reported about Trump.
“If you look at the opposition party and how they portrayed the campaign and how they portrayed the transition and how they portray the administration, it’s always wrong,” Bannon said.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who shared the stage with Bannon, condoned Bannon’s comments about the media and gave some of his own, telling CPAC attendees to disavow “everything that you’re reading” about stories of turmoil inside the White House.
“Just like they were dead wrong on the chaos of the campaign and just like they were dead wrong on the chaos of the transition, they are absolutely dead wrong on what they’re reporting today,” Bannon added.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is an annual retreat aimed at the Republican Party’s most fervent supporters and diehard activists.