Who is Stephen Kevin Bannon?

Steve Bannon

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Steve Bannon
Steve Bannon (5104952894).jpg

Bannon in 2010
Counselor to the President
Taking office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump (elect)
Succeeding John Podesta (2015)
Personal details
Born Stephen Kevin Bannon
November 27, 1953 (age 62)
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cathleen Houff Jordan
Mary Piccard (1995–1997)
Diane Clohesy (divorced 2009)
Alma mater Virginia Polytechnic Institute
and State University
Georgetown University (MA)
Harvard University (MBA)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1976–1983

Stephen KevinSteveBannon (born November 27, 1953) is an American campaign manager, businessman, and media executive.

He became chief executive officer of the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump in August 2016.[1][2] Bannon has been named chief strategist and Senior Counselor for the Presidency of Donald Trump.[3]

Bannon was executive chair of Breitbart News, a conservative[4][5][6] news, opinion and commentary website noted for its connection to the alternative right.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] He took a leave of absence from Breitbart in order to work for the campaign.[4][15] In preparation for serving as chief strategist, he plans to resign from Breitbart.[4]

Early life, family. and education[edit]

Stephen Kevin Bannon was born on November 27, 1953, in Norfolk, Virginia, into a working-class, Irish Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats.[16][17] He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 and holds a master’s degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. In 1983, Bannon received an M.B.A. degree with honors from Harvard Business School.[18]

Service in U.S. Navy[edit]

Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Pacific Fleet and stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.[19]

Business career[edit]

Investment banking[edit]

After his military service, Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department.[20] In 1990, Bannon and several colleagues from Goldman Sachs launched Bannon & Co., a boutique investment bank specializing in media. Through Bannon & Co., Bannon negotiated the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment to Ted Turner. As payment, Bannon & Co. accepted a financial stake in five television shows, including Seinfeld. Société Générale purchased Bannon & Co. in 1998.[21]

Environmental sector[edit]

In 1993, while still managing Bannon & Co., Bannon was made acting director of Earth-science research project Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Under Bannon, the project shifted emphasis from researching space exploration and colonization toward pollution and global warming. He left the project in 1995.[22][23]


After the sale of Bannon & Co., Bannon became an executive producer in the film and media industry in Hollywood, California. He was executive producer for Julie Taymor‘s 1999 film Titus. Bannon became a partner with entertainment industry executive Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm, Inc., a film and television management company.[21] In 2004, Bannon made a documentary about Ronald Reagan titled In the Face of Evil. Through the making and screening of this film, Bannon was introduced to Peter Schweizer and publisher Andrew Breitbart.[21] He was involved in the financing and production of a number of films, including Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman, The Undefeated (on Sarah Palin), and Occupy Unmasked. Bannon also hosts a radio show (Breitbart News Daily) on a Sirius XM satellite radio channel.[24]

Bannon is also executive chair and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, where he helped orchestrate the publication of the book Clinton Cash.[21][25] In 2015, Bannon was ranked No. 19 on Mediaite‘s list of the “25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015”.[26]

Bannon convinced Goldman Sachs to invest in a company known as Internet Gaming Entertainment.[27] Following a lawsuit, the company rebranded as Affinity Media and Bannon took over as CEO. From 2007 through 2011, Bannon served as chair and CEO of Affinity Media.[27]

Breitbart News[edit]

Bannon became[when?] a member of the board of Breitbart News.[28] In March 2012, after founder Andrew Breitbart’s death, Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart News.[15][29][30] Under his leadership, Breitbart took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach toward its agenda.[31] Bannon declared the website “the platform for the alt-right” in 2016.[7] Bannon identifies as a conservative.[32][33][34] Speaking about his role at Breitbart, Bannon said: “We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly ‘anti-‘ the permanent political class.”[35]

The New York Times described Breitbart News under Bannon’s leadership as a “curiosity of the fringe right wing”, with “ideologically-driven journalists”, that is a source of controversy “over material that has been called misogynist, xenophobic, and racist.” The newspaper also noted how Breitbart was now a “potent voice” for Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign.[36]

Donald Trump campaign[edit]

On August 17, 2016, Bannon was appointed Chief Executive of Donald Trump‘s campaign to become President of the United States.[29][32][37][38] He went on leave from Breitbart in order to take the new job.[15]

Trump administration[edit]

On November 13, 2016, he was appointed chief strategist and senior counselor to President-elect Trump.[39] This appointment drew strong opposition from the Anti-Defamation League, the Council on American–Islamic Relations, the Southern Poverty Law Center, other civil rights groups, prominent Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and some Republican strategists, because of statements in Breitbart News that they allege were racist or anti-Semitic.[1][2][40][41][42][43] On the other hand, Ben Shapiro,[42][44][45] Bernard Marcus of the Republican Jewish Coalition,[46] the Zionist Organization of America,[46] Shmuley Boteach,[47] and David Horowitz.[48] Alan Dershowitz described Bannon as a bigot but said there was no “compelling evidence” he was an anti-Semite.[49][50][51] The ADL said “we are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon”, while adding “under his stewardship, Breitbart has emerged as the leading source for the extreme views of a vocal minority who peddle bigotry and promote hate.”[52]

On November 15, 2016, Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline released a letter to Trump signed by 169 Democratic House Representatives urging him to rescind his appointment of Bannon. The letter stated that appointing Bannon “sends a disturbing message about what kind of president Donald Trump wants to be.”[53][54][55]

Personal life[edit]

Bannon’s first marriage was to Cathleen Houff Jordan. They had a daughter, Maureen.[56]Following their divorce, Bannon married former investment banker Mary Louise Piccard in April 1995. Their twin daughters were born three days later.[57] After Piccard and Bannon divorced in 1997, Bannon married Diane Clohesy. That marriage also ended in divorce in 2009.[58]

Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness in early January 1996, after Piccard accused Bannon of domestic abuse. The charges were later dropped when his now ex-wife did not show up to court.[59] During the divorce proceedings, Piccard also stated that Bannon had made antisemitic remarks about choice of schools, saying that he did not want to send his children to The Archer School for Girlsbecause there were too many Jews at the school and Jews raise their children to be “whiny brats”. Bannon’s spokesperson denied the accusation, noting that he had chosen to send both his children to the Archer School.[59][60][61][62][63] Bannon’s association with the alt-right movement, along with his aforementioned alleged anti-Semitic remarks, have contributed to accusations of white nationalism from the Southern Poverty Law Center and other advocacy groups, commentators, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.[40][64][65][66][67] Bannon denies the characterization, telling the Hollywood Reporter, “I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist.”[68]


Bannon has been a producer, writer or director on the following films and documentaries:


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b “Trump picks Priebus as White House chief of staff, Bannon as top adviser”. CNN.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b “Steve Bannon and the alt-right: a primer”. CBS News.
  3. Jump up^ “President-elect Trump names Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus to his senior White House leadership team”. Yahoo News. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c Bauder, David (November 14, 2016). “Editor: Breitbart plans to be ‘best place for news on Trump'”. Associated Press. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  5. Jump up^ Elliott, Philip; Miller, Zeke (November 18, 2016). “Inside Donald Trump’s Chaotic Transition”. Time (magazine). Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  6. Jump up^ Gidda, Mirren (November 16, 2016). “President Barack Obama Warns Against ‘Us and Them’ Nationalism”. Newsweek. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b Posner, Sarah (22 August 2016). “How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists”. Mother Jones. Retrieved 20 November 2016. ‘We’re [i.e., Breitbart News is] the platform for the alt-right,’ Bannon told me proudly when I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in July.
  8. Jump up^ See, e.g.:
    • Eli Stokols (October 13, 2016). “Trump fires up the alt-right”. Politico. … the unmistakable imprint of Breitbart News, the ‘alt-right’ website…
    • Staff (October 1, 2016). “The rise of the alt-right”. The Week. Another major alt-right platform is Breitbart.com, a right-wing news site…
    • Will Rahn (August 19, 2016). “Steve Bannon and the alt-right: a primer”. CBS News. Bannon’s Breitbart distinguished itself from the rest of the conservative media in two significant ways this cycle… The second was through their embrace of the alt-right…
  9. Jump up^ Josh Hafner (August 26, 2016). “For the Record: For Trump, everything’s going to be alt-right”. USA Today. Breitbart News, declared ‘the platform for the alt-right’ last month by then-chair, Steve Bannon.
  10. Jump up^ Callum Borchers (November 15, 2016). “‘Can you name one white nationalist article at Breitbart?’ Challenge accepted!”. The Washington Post.
  11. Jump up^ Jessica Taylor (November 20, 2016). “Energized By Trump’s Win, White Nationalists Gather To ‘Change The World'”. National Public Radio.
  12. Jump up^ Joe Sterling (November 17, 2016). “White nationalism, a term once on the fringes, now front and center”. CNN.
  13. Jump up^ Colm O’Molloy (November 21, 2016). “Alt-right celebrates the ‘identity president'”. BBC. A white nationalist movement known as the alt-right met in Washington DC this weekend
  14. Jump up^ Justin Wm. Moyer (November 21, 2016). “D.C. restaurant apologizes after hosting alt-right dinner with ‘Sieg Heil salute'”. The Washington Post. A restaurant in Northwest Washington issued an apology Monday after hosting an alt-right, white nationalist event whose participants offered praise of Adolf Hitler.
  15. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Trump shakes up campaign, demotes top adviser”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-17.
  16. Jump up^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/14/steve-bannon-who-is-the-donald-trumps-chief-strategist-and-why-i/
  17. Jump up^ Smith, Reiss (November 14, 2016). “Who is Steve Bannon? Meet Donald Trump’s controversial chief strategist”.
  18. Jump up^ “Stephen K. Bannon”. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  19. Jump up^ “Trump’s controversial new adviser promoted conservatism even in the Navy”. militarytimes.com.
  20. Jump up^ Primack, Dan (August 17, 2016). “Another Goldman Sachs Alum Joins Donald Trump’s Campaign”. Fortune. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  21. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Green, Joshua (October 8, 2015). “This Man is the Most Dangerous Political Operative in America”. Bloomberg Business. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  22. Jump up^ Murphy, Tim (August 26, 2016). “Trump’s Campaign CEO Ran a Secretive Sci-Fi Project in the Arizona Desert”. Mother Jones. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  23. Jump up^ Kennedy, Bud (August 25, 2016). “Long before Breitbart, Trump CEO Bannon ran Ed Bass’ Biosphere 2”. Star-Telegram. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  24. Jump up^ Mahoney, Bill (May 21, 2015). “Conservative nonprofit plans to expand statewide presence”. Politico. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  25. Jump up^ “Team”. g-a-i.org. Government Accountability Institute. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  26. Jump up^ “Mediaite’s 25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015”. Mediaite. December 29, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  27. ^ Jump up to:a b Lapowsky, Issie. “Trump’s Campaign CEO’s Little Known World of Warcraft Career”. WIRED. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  28. Jump up^ Hagey, Keach (2012-03-19). “Breitbart to announce new management”. POLITICO. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  29. ^ Jump up to:a b Hagey, Keach (March 19, 2012). “Breitbart to announce new management”. Politico. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  30. Jump up^ Bobic, Igor (2016-08-18). “Trump Campaign CEO Steve Bannon Failed to Properly Pay Taxes For Several Years”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  31. Jump up^ “Trump puts flame-throwing outsider on the inside”. Boston Herald.
  32. ^ Jump up to:a b Ulmer, James (June 26, 2005). “On the Right Side of the Theater Aisle”. New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2015. If established Hollywood conservatives welcome the energy of this new group, some nonetheless fear that it is heading down the wrong path. … Even the outspoken Mr. Bannon thinks that little will be gained if conservative ideology moves too far in front of conservative art. ‘We have the money, we have the ideas,’ he said. ‘What we don’t have – and what the left has in spades – are great filmmakers.’
  33. Jump up^ Mead, Rebecca (May 24, 2010). “Rage Machine”. The New Yorker. Retrieved October 20,2015.
  34. Jump up^ Phillip, Abby (March 6, 2014). “Conservatives to know at CPAC 2014”. ABC News. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  35. Jump up^ Farhi, Paul (January 27, 2016). “How Breitbart has become a dominant voice in conservative media”. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  36. Jump up^ “Breitbart Rises From Outlier to Potent Voice in Campaign”. New York Times. 26 August 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  37. Jump up^ Martin, Jonathan; Rutenberg, Jim; Haberman, Maggie (August 17, 2016). “Donald Trump Appoints Media Firebrand to Run Campaign”. New York Times. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  38. Jump up^ Kaufman, Leslie (February 16, 2014). “Breitbart News Network Plans Global Expansion”. New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  39. Jump up^ Haberman, Michael D. Shear, Maggie; Rappeport, Alan (2016-11-13). “Donald Trump Picks Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff and Stephen Bannon as Strategist”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  40. ^ Jump up to:a b Ferrechio, Susan. “Reid spokesman: ‘White supremacist’ Bannon snags White House post”. The Washington Examiner. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  41. Jump up^ “Trump draws sharp rebuke, concerns over newly appointed chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon”.
  42. ^ Jump up to:a b Shear, Michael D.; Haberman, Maggie (14 November 2016). “Critics See Stephen Bannon, Trump’s Pick for Strategist, as Voice of Racism”. The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  43. Jump up^ “Reince Priebus will be Donald Trump’s chief of staff”. NBC News. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  44. Jump up^ “Analysis: Breitbart’s Steve Bannon leads the ‘alt right’ to the White House”. NBC News. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  45. Jump up^ “Steve Bannon Is Not a Nazi—But Let’s Be Honest about What He Represents”. National Review. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  46. ^ Jump up to:a b Republican Jewish Coalition Defends Trump’s Appointment Of Bannon By ALLEGRA KIRKLAND, Talking Points Memo, NOVEMBER 15, 2016,
  47. Jump up^ ‘America’s rabbi’ rises to defend Steve ′Bannon RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, CONTRIBUTOR, The Hill, 11/15/16
  48. Jump up^ Jewish Writer Says Trump’s Appointee, Bannon ‘Doesn’t Have An Anti-Semitic Bone in His Body’ By Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, November 15th, 2016
  49. Jump up^ “Alan Dershowitz: ‘No evidence’ Bannon is anti-Semitic”.
  50. Jump up^ Dershowitz defends Steve Bannon against anti-Semitism claims Yoni Hersch, Yisrael Hayom, Thursday November 17, 2016
  51. Jump up^ “Opinion //Bannon’s not an Anti-Semite. But he is an anti-Muslim, anti-women bigot – Opinion”. haaretz.com. Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  52. Jump up^ ADL states Trump appt. Bannon not known anti-Semite, while ADL CEO pledges to register as Muslim Ynet, Gahl Becker and Reuters, 19.11.16
  53. Jump up^ Prignano, Christina (16 Nov 2016). “More than 150 House members urge Trump to rescind Bannon appointment”. Boston Globe. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  54. Jump up^ McCaskill, Nolan D. (15 Nov 2016). “Democrats demand that Trump rescind Bannon appointment”. Politico. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  55. Jump up^ Tempera, Jacqueline (15 Nov 2016). “R.I. delegation taking lead in holding Trump accountable”. Providence Journal. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  56. Jump up^ Nelson, Tracy (October 3, 2009). “Set Up For Success”. Army West Point Athletics.
  57. Jump up^ Finnegan, Michael; Pearce, Matt; Serna, Joseph (August 26, 2016). “Domestic violence allegations from 1996 surface against chief of Donald Trump’s campaign”. Los Angeles Times.
  58. Jump up^ Kirkland, Allegra (26 Aug 2016). “Trump Campaign Chief Steve Bannon Once Charged With Domestic Violence”. Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  59. ^ Jump up to:a b Twohey, Megan; Eder, Steve; Smither, Noah (August 25, 2016). “Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief, Stephen Bannon, Faced Domestic Violence Charges in 1996”. The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  60. Jump up^ “Trump campaign CEO once charged in domestic violence case”. POLITICO. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  61. Jump up^ Chuck, Elizabeth. “Trump Campaign CEO Steve Bannon Accused of Anti-Semitic Remarks by Ex-Wife”. NBC News. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  62. Jump up^ “New Trump campaign chief faces scrutiny over voter registration, anti-Semitism”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  63. Jump up^ “Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon denies anti-Semitic remarks”. The Guardian. Associated Press. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  64. Jump up^ Amend, Alex. “Trump Campaign Hires Breitbart Exec Stephen Bannon, Cozies Up Closer to the Alt-Right”. Southern Policy Law Center. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  65. Jump up^ Viebeck, Elise. “Trump faces backlash over appointing Bannon as a top aide, a choice critics say will empower white nationalists”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  66. Jump up^ DelReal, Jose. “Trump draws sharp rebuke, concerns over newly appointed chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  67. Jump up^ Sarlin, Benjy. “Analysis: Breitbart’s Steve Bannon Leads the ‘Alt Right’ to the White House”. NBC News. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  68. Jump up^ “Ringside With Steve Bannon at Trump Tower as the President-Elect’s Strategist Plots “An Entirely New Political Movement” (Exclusive)”.
  69. Jump up^ Miller, Daniel (30 August 2016). “Inside the Hollywood past of Stephen K. Bannon, Donald Trump’s campaign chief”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  70. Jump up^ McCarthy, Todd (December 21, 1999). “Review: ‘Titus'”. Variety. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  71. Jump up^ Martel, Ned (October 29, 2004). “Ronald Reagan, in Black and White”. New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  72. Jump up^ Weigel, David (October 1, 2010). “Blowing Up Stuff”. Slate. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  73. ^ Jump up to:a b c Wardell, Gabe (July 15, 2011). “Director Stephen Bannon talks Sarah Palin’s Undefeated”. Creative Loafing. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  74. Jump up^ O’Hare, Kate (July 17, 2011). “Sarah Palin documentary ‘The Undefeated’ to roll out to other cities”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  75. Jump up^ Whipple, Kelsey (September 21, 2012). “The director of Occupy Unmasked talks facts, bias and the future of the movement”. Denver Westward. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  76. Jump up^ Bila, Jedidiah (August 27, 2012). “Obama voters reject ‘hope and change’ in new documentary”. Fox News. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  77. Jump up^ Hoffman, Bill (June 3, 2015). “Newsmax TV’s ‘Fire From the Heartland’ Celebrates Conservative Women”. Newsmax. Retrieved August 12, 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Steve Bannon at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices

Title last held by

John Podesta

Counselor to the President

Taking office 2017

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