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Chief White House strategist Steve Bannon has blasted far-right white nationalists as “clowns” and “losers” in the wake of the Charlottesville clashes.
The former media boss made the comments amid fall-out caused by President Trump’s refusal to explicitly blame neo-Nazis for violence at the anti-racism protest over the weekend.
Mr Bannon was once the leader of far-right news site Breitbart – a publication credited for boosting Mr Trump’s election campaign and blamed by many for legitimising the views of white nationalists.
But in a surprise intervention he condemned white nationalists after an anti-fascist protester was killed during unrest in Virginia.
Mr Bannon initiated the phone conversation with journalist Robert Kuttner during which he said: “Ethno-nationalism – it’s losers. It’s a fringe element.
“I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more. These guys are a collection of clowns.”
His apparent condemnation of the neo-Nazi movement was in stark contrast to comments made by the President in the wake of the Charlottesville clashes.
One person, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed when a suspected white nationalist crashed his car into protesters demonstration against white supremacists on Saturday.
But President has refused to explicitly condemn the neo-Nazi marchers, instead maintaining there was blame “on both sides” and accused the “alt-left” for “charging” at white supremacists.
In a press conference on Wednesday, he told reporters: “I think there’s blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it and you don’t have any doubt about it either and if you reported it accurately, you would say it.”
Mr Bannon, whose job as strategist has looked uncertain in recent weeks, also undermined the President’s threat of “fire and fury” and military intervention in relation to the stand-off with North Korea.
Contrary to Mr Trump’s assertions that the US would be ready to react with military force in light of further threats from leader Kim Jong Un , Mr Bannon said: “There’s no military solution, forget it.
“Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
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