WATCH: How Steve Bannon Engineered President Trump’s Travel Ban

May 22, 2017

The abrupt dismissal of FBI director James Comey. The appointment of a special prosecutor. Reports that President Donald Trump revealed classified intelligence to Russian diplomats.

As chaos swirls around President Donald Trump and his administration, FRONTLINE tomorrow night will premiere Bannon’s War — an in-depth look at controversial Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, who has long made it clear that upending the political establishment is his goal.

From Michael Kirk and the team behind The Choice 2016 and Divided States of America, this hour-long documentary examines who Bannon is, what shaped his mission to challenge the establishment and change America, and his role in the power struggles and policy clashes of Trump’s presidency.

“Bannon sees disruption as power,” Robert Costa of The Washington Post tells FRONTLINE in the above excerpt from Bannon’s War.

Case in point: As the excerpt explores, it was no accident that the announcement of Trump’s travel ban on refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim nations happened with little warning on a Friday afternoon.

“Bannon knew that people who were opposed to this policy would be enraged, and most of them would have Saturday and Sunday off from work, so they could get out there and they could protest and they could get angry,” says Joshua Green of Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Why was that Bannon’s goal? Because the resulting media coverage of the massive protests would telegraph to Trump’s voters that he was keeping his campaign-trail promise to restrict Muslims from entering the U.S.

“They knew that the protests would come, they knew the media would erupt,” Costa tells FRONTLINE. “It’s what they wanted.”

“Bannon thinks, ‘This is great. We’re killing it. We’re winning. We’re doing everything that we said we would. We are beating down the establishment and the liberals into submission. We are literally making America great again,’” former Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella tells FRONTLINE.

To learn more about Bannon’s controversial strategies for trying to change America’s immigration policies — and America itself — watch Bannon’s War tomorrow night on PBS and online.

The documentary draws on nearly 30 in-depth interviews with political insiders, Bannon’s former associates at Breitbart, authors and journalists to explore who Bannon is and how his worldview shaped Trump’s campaign — and his presidency to date.

Bannon’s War premieres Tuesday, May 23 at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. CST on PBS stations and online.

Patrice Taddonio

Patrice Taddonio, Senior Digital Writer, FRONTLINE



More Stories

From the Archives: An Iconic Tire Company’s Secret History in Liberia
FRONTLINE and ProPublica's 2014 documentary 'Firestone and the Warlord' is newly available to stream on FRONTLINE's YouTube channel.
March 23, 2023
Federal Reserve Raises Rates as it Juggles Fighting Inflation With a Banking Crisis
The U.S. central bank announced Wednesday it would raise interest rates by a quarter-percent. FRONTLINE’s documentary “Age of Easy Money” offers context on this moment.
March 22, 2023
Where Harvey Weinstein’s Cases, Trials & Convictions Stand Now
The former movie mogul has been tried, convicted and sentenced to nearly four decades in prison on multiple charges in two jurisdictions and faces additional civil lawsuits.
March 21, 2023
Citing War Crimes in Ukraine, International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin
The court alleges there are “reasonable grounds” to believe the Russian president bears “individual criminal responsibility” for the deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.
March 17, 2023