Axios’ Jonathan Swan asked former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon a series of uncomfortable questions during an interview released in pieces on Monday.
Swan reeled off a list of Bannon’s goals for his populist bootcamp in Italy and asked which of those items have been achieved. Bannon grasped to find an answer.
“Sounds like you haven’t done anything,” Swan observed.
“No, that’s absolutely not true,” Bannon replied. “If you go back and talk to the individual parties, we’ve done tremendous work.”
Swan asked who he should talk to, suggesting Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister of Italy.
Bannon said he thinks Salvini would call them “solid guys” giving “good advice.”
“So we spoke to Salvini,” Swan said, delivering the death knell. “Salvini said he’s spoken to you twice in his life, he barely knows you.”
Bannon nodded mutely.
Later on, Swan asked if this Italian mission is a side effect of being booted from American politics by President Donald Trump. Bannon protested his relevancy.
Steve Bannon wants to lead a nationalist movement in Europe, citing politicians like Matteo Salvini of Italy and Marion Le Pen of France among those who could be part of his effort.
Salvini says he barely knows Bannon. pic.twitter.com/EN7c4ZwK7B
— Axios (@axios) June 10, 2019
Bannon has run into problems recently with his Italian monastery-turned-populist bootcamp, as the government revoked his lease on the 800-year-old building due to a lack of restoration plans. Team Bannon has vowed to fight.