Tuesday 25 April 2017

Trump strategist Bannon's ex-wife is former Rose of Tralee hopeful

Diane Clohessy in her modelling days Picture: Press 22
Diane Clohessy in her modelling days Picture: Press 22

Rory Tevlin

US President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon has caused much controversy since setting foot inside the White House, and it has now emerged his ex-wife is a former Rose of Tralee contestant.

Mr Bannon's third wife was Limerick woman and former model Diane Clohessy.

Mr Bannon, described by some as the "most dangerous political operative in the US", was married to Ms Clohessy until their divorce in 2009.

Photos from the 'Limerick Leader's archive show that, prior to moving to the United States, Ms Clohessy, from Castletroy, was one of the Limerick contestants in the Rose of Tralee in 1990 - where she represented Pery's nightclub.

The winner of the 1990 year's festival was German Rose Julia Dawson.

After the festival, Ms Clohessy continued to model locally and was remembered this week by model agent Celia Holman Lee as "a striking young woman with lots of personality".

"I remember Diane had a very pretty face and was very attractive. She probably didn't have the height to make it as a big-time model.

"She moved to the States and I didn't hear much about her after that," Ms Holman Lee said.

Steve Bannon on the cover of this week’s ‘Time’ magazine
Steve Bannon on the cover of this week’s ‘Time’ magazine

Ms Clohessy began studying marketing at the age of 24 at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Despite their divorce, Ms Clohessy and Mr Bannon seem to have an amicable relationship. In fact, Ms Clohessy has been working as a social media manager with Breitbart News, of which Mr Bannon is the former executive chair.

While President Trump's signature may be on the executive orders on refugees and immigration which have caused enormous controversy around the world, many political experts have said they had the fingerprints of Mr Bannon all over them.

Mr Bannon was appointed Mr Trump's chief strategist and has been at the president's side for many of the major news events of the past few weeks.

This includes a visit to CIA headquarters and the meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

He was also pictured in the Oval Office close to the president while he was on a call to Russia's President Vladimir Putin on January 28.

President Trump's senior counsellor also helped write the president's inaugural address.

This week's 'Time' magazine profiles Mr Bannon as their cover story, dubbing him 'The Great Manipulator'.

Mr Bannon seldom gives interviews, preferring instead to exert his influence behind the scenes.

However, Mr Trump has denied that Mr Bannon calls the shots.

"I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it," he wrote on Twitter.

"Some FAKE NEWS media, in order to marginalize, lies!"

Born in Virginia, Mr Bannon transformed himself from working-class Navy man to Goldman Sachs financier. He also worked as a Hollywood producer and became popular with America's right-wing media, as chairman of Breitbart website. "I come from a blue-collar, Irish Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats," Mr Bannon told Bloomberg.

"I wasn't political until I got into the service and saw how badly (President) Jimmy Carter f***ed things up."

Irish Independent

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