Maybe it’s a case of dirty birds of a feather flock their dirty feathers together.
Former Breitbart editor-at-large Ben Shapiro called his ex-boss a “nasty” man known for “verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies” in a recent column. Kurt Bardella, who acted as Breitbart’s spokesperson until he resigned in protest earlier this year, told POLITICO Bannon operated “as the dictator of Breitbart.”
I’m willing to concede that nobody is all bad. Not even Trump, though if you were to ask me to name a single thing, the only thing I can say with a certainty would be based on my own faith that he is a dearly loved child of God.
As for Bannon, some employees report that he has given financial support to staffers in need, at times.
That, however, doesn’t excuse the rest.
Several ex-staffers also described leaving the website’s orbit as a nerve-wracking ordeal — “indentured servitude in limbo,” one former employee alleged in a legal filing — due in part to what they saw as Bannon’s attempts to sabotage their future employment prospects. While many of the former employees said they did not know Bannon was charged with domestic violence against his ex-wife 20 years ago until POLITICO’s report last week, they did mention rumors of previous gender discrimination and sexual harassment accusations that have since been unearthed by other news organizations.
“He’s an evil genius, is how I would put it,” said a former staffer who worked with Bannon, and who like many of the former staffers and associates interviewed did so on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
Evil. What a word. The “genius” part is of no consequence.
This is actually a pattern with Trump. From the vicious niblet, Corey Lewandowski (who is back in the fold, if some reports can be believed), to the alleged Russian mob fixer, Paul Manafort, to this thug, Trump seems to prefer the company and counsel of disreputable men.
For months, pundits and political operatives have complained that Breitbart has become Trump’s homepage – Shapiro, who resigned earlier this year when, in his view, the site sided with Trump’s campaign over its own reporter, has called it Trump’s “Pravda.” Critics accused Breitbart of colluding with the Trump campaign, and Bannon made it clear, Bardella said, that he was in constant contact with the candidate himself. So when Trump hired Bannon amid his latest campaign shakeup this August, many Breitbart-watchers saw it as the natural progression of their relationship — an effort by Trump to surround himself with like-minded operatives in sync with his populist-nationalist message.
Because Trump prefers Yes-men and likeminded charlatans. From the first day of his campaign, Trump has been an abusive, insensitive, unprofessional taint on the primary, and now the entire nation. Bannon is just a mirror.
“He is someone who is prone to a lot of tirades and acts as a bully. If anyone thought [former Trump campaign manager] Corey Lewandowski was challenging that way, wait ‘til someone gets a curse-laden phone call from Steve at any hour,” Bardella told POLITICO on the day Bannon was hired.
Former staffers also said they witnessed or were told by colleagues of slurs being flung at employees who angered the boss (Bannon’s alleged use of the word c–nt to describe former reporter Michelle Fields has already been reported). Two recounted Bannon’s use of nicknames for his staff — cruel pejoratives that implied they were “expendable, low-life creatures,” as one former employee characterized it. “Grundoon,” the gibberish-speaking diapered groundhog from the comic strip Pogo, was a favorite, one former staffer said: “It refers to a low-life, a low-intelligence worker.”
When Michelle Fields quit Breitbart after the organization failed to come to her defense in her case against Lewandowski, Matt Boyle, the unibrowed goblin who serves as Breitbart’s Washington editor, wrote a letter to Huffington Post, Fields’ new employers, and tried to pass it off as coming from liberal activists, upset about Fields’ hiring.
Boyle’s message contained an open letter attacking Fields that he hoped the activist would encourage other progressives and union groups to sign. According to the source who provided the letter to Yahoo News, Boyle claimed he personally wrote the letter. Boyle’s letter described Trump and his policies as “dangerous” and implied that, as a conservative who “considered supporting and voting for Donald Trump,” Fields was not up to the task of covering his campaign and should be removed from her job by the Huffington Post.
Boyle clearly hoped the letter would not be linked to him. The subject line on his email to the progressive activist was written in all capital letters, “OFF RECORD — YOU DID NOT GET FROM ME.” Boyle’s message, which was sent from his personal Google email account, contained nothing other than the letter, which was titled, “An Open Letter To The Huffington Post From The Progressive Community.” Before criticizing Fields, Boyle’s letter cast Trump as a serious threat to the country.
Am I laughing?
Yes. A lot.
Boyle has carried water for Trump from the beginning, and it is widely believed that this move from him was on direct orders from Bannon. He obviously tried to paint himself as on the side of the liberal community, in order to get them riled up about Field’s hiring. She’s still with HuffPo, however, and Boyle is still a goblin.
The best way to leave Breitbart, several former staffers said, was to make the company want to part ways with you. Otherwise, moving on to a higher-profile job, or quitting in a fiery public blaze, would make it seem like Breitbart “lost.” And Bannon, former staffers said, always needed to “win.”
“You have to make it their idea to get rid of you,” said the person with intimate knowledge of Breitbart’s culture.
Overall, the picture painted of Bannon is not a pretty one. He’s got a nasty temperament and no experience running a campaign.
In the normal world, that’s seen as a liability. In Trump’s world, he fits right in.