Steve Bannon expects 2019 to be “most vitriolic year” since Civil War

Author: CBS News
Published: Updated:
Steve Bannon. (CBS News photo)
Steve Bannon. (CBS News photo)

With the anticipated upcoming release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, ongoing probes by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York into President Trump’s businesses and Democrats in control of the House, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon predicts 2019 will be a “vitriolic” and “nasty” year in American politics.

“I think that 2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since before the Civil War,” Bannon said in an interview with CBS News correspondent Seth Doane on Saturday. “And I include Vietnam in that. I think we’re in, I think we’re in for a very nasty 2019.”

Despite this the former top presidential adviser Steve Bannon says he has “zero” doubt right now that President Donald Trump will run for a second term in 2020.

Bannon, who helped the president mount an unexpectedly successful populist White House bid during the 2016 campaign cycle before tapped for a White House post, said the president will face increased scrutiny this year, both from federal investigators and Democrats seeking to thwart his reelection.

“I think the next 90 days to four months is going to be a real meat grinder … I mean, the pressure on the president is coming from many different angles,” he said, adding later, “I think you’ve already seen it from what the Democrats, some of these reports they’ve been dropping here without telling anybody. I think that now they control the House they can weaponize this, they could weaponize the Mueller report.”

Bannon said he also expects the president to face primary challenges from more centrist and moderate Republicans. Some high-profile Republicans, including Maryland’s popular Gov. Larry Hogan, are mulling bids to mount insurgent campaigns against the incumbent president.

Still, Bannon said Mr. Trump will be “in a much more battle-hardened position” as result of the political challenges he expects to besiege the White House in the coming months.

After being pushed out of the administration in the summer of 2017 by former White House chief of staff John Kelly — reportedly for influencing Mr. Trump’s decision to denounce “many sides” for the deadly Charlottesville rally by white supremacists — Bannon has been advising far-right political campaigns in the U.S. and Europe.

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