The new Frontline “Bannon’s War,” debuting on Tuesday night on PBS, looks at the rise and future of Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, who is the source of a new term in politics: “Bannonism.”
The documentary’s director, Michael Kirk, uses the term to describe the original travel ban, which led to a weekend of confusion and chaos, as well as the more pugnacious and even apocalyptic elements of President Trump’s speeches, starting with his reference to “American carnage” in his inaugural address.
The documentary shows how Bannon parlayed a career in Hollywood finance and later documentary filmmaking to that of building Breitbart News Network into an influential force in right-wing politics and later in the election of Trump.
Bannon’s stock fell for a bit, as Trump gave a Wall Street Journal interview in April in which he seemed to minimize Bannon’s role and there were reports of discord with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser. But Kirk says that Trump’s speech in Harrisburg, Pa. on April 29, Trump’s 100th day in office, was a signal that Bannon was on the rise again. The speech had the feel of a campaign rally, rousing the president’s loyal following with a series of attack lines. Whether Bannon has a long or short future at the White House, he’ll have a lasting influence on the Trump presidency.
Kirk talked to Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM recently about the making of “Bannon’s War.”
We seem to have a White House in crisis, in terms of all of the investigations. Where do you see Bannon in all of this, in terms of advising the president?