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6 Things to Know About... Stephen Bannon


By Jenna Goff

Washington Week Fellow

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped his campaign chief executive and former head of Breitbart News Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist. The choice is making waves among the GOP establishment, which Bannon repeatedly criticized throughout the campaign, but shows that Trump may hold true to his promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington by hiring political outsiders as advisors. Here’s what you need to know about the man who has been deemed the “most dangerous political operative in America”:

1. Most recently, Bannon served as executive chairman of the alt-right Breitbart News, a position he held from 2012 until August 2016, when he was hired full-time as Trump’s campaign chief executive. Breitbart is favored by ultra conservatives and is known for fueling homophobic, sexist and xenophobic rhetoric.

2. Before heading Breitbart, Bannon was a large presence in finance and Hollywood. He was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs before becoming an executive producer and maker of conservative films. 

3. Bannon was also an early investor in “Seinfeld” (yes, the TV show). He still recieves royalties from reruns of the show. 

4. Bannon is not a complete government outsider: he served as a Naval Officer in the 1970s and later became a special assistant to the chief of Naval operations at the Pentagon under the Reagan administration.

5. In 2012, Bannon co-founded the Government Accountability Institute, an organization intended to “investigate and expose crony capitalism, misuse of taxpayer monies and other governmental corruption or malfeasance.” The Institute is behind books such as Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.

6. Bannon holds an undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech, a master's in national security studies from Georgetown and an MBA from Harvard.

See how Trump's administration is taking shape: 

Attorney General: Jeff Sessions
Chief strategist: Stephen Bannon
Chief of staff: Reince Priebus
National Security adviser: Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
CIA director: Mike Pompeo
Education secretary: Betsy DeVos
UN ambassador: Nikki Haley
Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao
Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross
Defense secretary: Gen. James Mattis(link is external)
Energy secretary:
Homeland Security secretary:
Housing and Urban Development secretary:
Secretary of state:
Interior secretary:
Treasury secretary: Steven Mnuchin
Veteran Affairs secretary:
EPA administrator: