Wednesday 21 March 2018

Write side with writer Joshua Green


Joshua Green
Joshua Green
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

Biographer Joshua Green on 'Devil's Bargain', his bestselling book about Trump's top advisor, Steve Bannon.

What led you to write about Steve Bannon?

I have known him since 2011, and I have covered the rise of the populist right. Because I have interviewed him several times, I had the access and the knowledge to tell the full story from the inside.

You dealt with Bannon and Trump through the campaign. What are they like in person?

Trump on a one-on-one level is exactly how you see him on TV - just at a slightly lower volume. He is a bit more charming in person than how he comes across in public. Bannon is charismatic, smart and funny. One of his skills is manoeuvring egotistical billionaires like Trump.

What attracted Bannon to Trump?

Trump embraced his nationalist, populist politics. Bannon was attracted to his willingness to do anything, say anything, offend anyone and never apologise.

So is Trump influenced by him in his speeches?

In the campaign, you could see Trump testing out Bannon's anti-immigrant messages at the big rallies - the stuff about building a wall along the Mexican border and getting the Mexicans to pay for it.

Do you think the pair of them will stick together?

I have no idea. One lesson I have learned is never to predict what Trump will do next.

How did the conventional Republicans see Bannon?

They were aghast when Trump hired him. They saw him as an internet-era update of the Slim Pickens character in Dr Strangelove who rides a bomb like a rodeo bull, whoopin' and hollerin' all the way to nuclear annihilation.

Not a good look. Does Bannon make any great play of his Irish-American background?

He never fails to mention his Irish-Catholic roots. He's very proud of them.

Well, I'm not sure if we're so proud of him at the moment...

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