Reince Priebus Attempts to Normalize White Nationalist Stephen Bannon

“He is very, very temperate.”

In his first interviews since being named the incoming White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus took to the morning news shows on Monday to defend the appointment of Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of alt-right media organization Breitbart News, as Trump’s chief strategist and senior counsel.

“The guy I know is a guy sitting in an office all day yesterday talking about hiring, talking about people,” Priebus said on the Today Show. “Here’s a guy who is Harvard Business School, he was a ten-year naval officer, London School of Economics, I believe. He is a guy who is very, very smart, very temperate.”

When asked about some of the race-baiting stories that have run on Breitbart, including one that stoked fears of Muslims and another that ran with an anti-Semitic attack on Bill Kristol, Priebus replied, “That wasn’t his writing, that was some articles on Breitbart. That wasn’t him.”

Over on MSNBC, the Republican National Committee chair once more pointed to Bannon’s Harvard Business School education to diminish concerns about his role in leading a white nationalist movement and normalize the appointment. He described Bannon as “generous” and “hospitable.”

For a closer look at Bannon’s assistance in shaping a campaign that included racism and misogyny, head to our deep-dive here.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend