Giving rare public remarks on Thursday, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said the Trump cabinet was working towards the “deconstruction of the administrative state” and repeatedly referred to the media as “the opposition party.”
Bannon’s speech at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland evoked the same shades of authoritarianism that have permeated President Donald Trump’s time in office, from his outraged tweets to his picks to lead federal agencies.
He outlined what he described as “three verticals” of Trump’s agenda that would focus on “national security and sovereignty,” “economic nationalism,” and “deconstruction of the administrative state”—meaning a rollback of taxes, regulations, and trade agreements that the administration has claimed are hampering economic growth and individualism.
“If you look at these cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction,” he said.
Bannon appeared on stage at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, where the two of them were interviewed by Matt Schlapp, president of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual CPAC gathering.
At one point, Bannon, who formerly chaired the rightwing outlet Breitbart News, called the media “the opposition party,” echoing remarks both he and Trump have previously made.
“They’re corporatist, globalist media that are adamantly opposed to an economic nationalist agenda like Donald Trump has,” he said. “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.”
“They’re going to continue to fight,” he said of the media. “If you think they are giving you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”
At several points throughout their speech, Bannon and Priebus were interrupted by loud cheers from the audience.
“There’s a new political order that’s being formed,” Bannon said toward the end. “The center core of what we believe, that we’re a nation with an economy…with a reason for being, I think that’s what unites us.”