Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon bombastically returned to the spotlight Sunday – and didn’t mince any words – during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”
Bannon defended the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which has included separating undocumented migrant parents and their children if they are caught crossing the border into the U.S., during his interview with Jonathan Karl.
“It’s zero tolerance. I don’t think you have to justify it,” Bannon argued. “We have a crisis on the Southern border. But the elites in this city – and this ties into Korea, ties into everything that took place this week – the elites, the permanent political class in this city want to manage situations to um – you know – to bad outcomes.”
“And Donald Trump is not going to do that,” he continued. “He’s just not going to kick the can down the road, whether that is China, whether it’s tariffs, whether it’s Korea, whether it’s the Southern border.”
“We ran on a policy: very simply, stop mass illegal immigration and limit legal immigration, get our sovereignty back and to help our workers. OK?” Bannon, who was the chief executive of the Trump campaign in 2016, explained. “And, so he went to a zero tolerance policy. Zero tolerance. It’s a crime to come across illegally, and children get separated.”
Bannon added, “I mean – I hate to say it – that’s the law. And, he’s enforcing the law.”
The Trump administration has faced waves of criticism as of late after the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that nearly 2,000 children had been separated from their parents between April 19 and May 31 of this year. Attorney General Jeff Sessions invoked passages from the Bible to defend the policy.
Bannon downplayed the idea that the policy was at all immoral, and his rhetoric sounded awfully similar to the president.
“The morality is the law. They’re – they’re criminals when they come across. OK? Illegally,” Bannon said. “And that’s why they’re getting separated.”
He added, “By they way, if they’re calling asylum, they’re still going to the – to the detention centers – although the . . . detention centers are now full. That’s the Obama policy, right, from 2014.”
In recent days, Trump has blamed the Democrats and tweeted that the party is “forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda.” But there are no laws that mandate family separation, meaning it is the result of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration agenda.
Bannon, who was the former head of the alt-right conservative website Breitbart News, also went on to claim that Martin Luther King, Jr. “would be proud” of what President Donald Trump has accomplished so far for black and Hispanic communities.
He also added that Trump has never lied before and that, while he has not communicated with the president directly as of late, he still could not be more proud of him.
“Martin Luther King . . . He would be proud of what Donald Trump has done for black and Hispanic working class,” Bannon boldly claimed.
Bannon was seemingly correct, however, in his assertion that the Trump administration is not looking to back away from its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, as senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also weighed in Sunday in defense of the policy.
“As a mother, as a Catholic, as somebody who has a conscience . . . I will tell you that nobody likes this policy,” Conway said on “Meet the Press.”
She added, “Let me just tell you that nobody likes seeing babies ripped from their mother’s arms, from their mother’s wombs, frankly. But, we have to make sure that DHS’s laws are understood through the sound byte culture we live in.”