Practice English Speaking&Listening with: America's Great Divide: Steve Bannon, 1st Interview | FRONTLINE

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So lets just start with the back story, the Steve Bannon kid, the brawler, your brother said. In what way?

Well, I mean, its aour neighborhood became, it was kind of, you know, white, working class, lower middle class,

old, internal suburb of an old city, Richmond [Virginia].

So I was inside the city limits, very close to downtown, and it became predominantly black in the60s.

And my parents, you know, wouldnt leave; that was our neighborhood.

So it was a prettyyou know, it was a fairly toughthe north side of Richmond is a fairly tough section of town,

and you just kind of, you know, you justI was raised in a working-class, Irish Catholic family,

went to a military prep school, and I was just kind of a, you know, justjust raised to not back down.

If you believe in something, you believe in something.

And you cantif you show any weakness in a neighborhoodits quite Darwinian as a young person, right?

If you show weakness, youre going to just get picked on and bullied and all that.

So youve got toyouve just got toyou just learn from the playgrounds, and you learn from the schools and the sports.

You know, theres no big, organized Little League or anything like that;

everything was kind of inner-city baseball leagues or basketball leagues, etc.

You just learn youve got to stand up for yourself, and youve got to fight.

And if you fight, people give you some space.

And if you dont fight, its justyou know, its not a great life.

So it was justand it wasand it wasnt any big deal.

It was kind of like breathing air.

So I remember the story about your dad that you told that almost felt like one switch gets turned on,

and young Steve Bannonyoure a grownup by then, but it goes to this idea of trust,

trust in the government, trust in your company, trust that your dad had in his retirement accounts.

Well, look, were Irish Catholic.

The Catholic Church, the Bell

my grandfather and father I think are the only two guys in the history of the Bell System to be both 50-year employees.

My grandfather worked there 50 years as a lineman and a PBX [Private Branch Exchange] guy,

and my dad was 50 years, started in the sewer pulling cable and worked for 50 years.

So as a father and son worked 50 years for the phone company.

You had these big institutions.

I was fortunate enough to be raised in a great time in America, right, the50s and60s.

But you believed in these big institutions: the Catholic Church, the phone company.

And these were, you know, permanent fixtures in your life, and it was kind of that stability.

I came from a neighborhood that was a little bit tough, but it was not likeit was a very solid, great background.

As I go throughout the world and meet these very wealthy people I deal with all the time and see their kids,

the greatest thing you can give a kid is that kind of basic, core, loving family thats there and rock-solid.

So the family, the church, the community, the phone company, these are institutions.

And so institutions are everything.

Its a very institutional life when you think about it, and quite hierarchical.

But it gives you a set framework that you can grow and be

you know, get to be an adult, and theres a real sense of, you know, something thats solid there, something thats real.

I think thats what broke down the financial crisis.

I mean, my father would rather

he would tell me stories back in the Depression about one of the things

about his father working at the phone company is that they never laid anybody off during the Great Depression.

My dad was born in 1921, and as a very young person, he remembers all the neighborhood fathers got let go.

His dad still had a job; the phone company didnt let anybody go.

He also told stories about the, you know, borrowing againstthey had like one or two shares of stock,

which was everything, and they would borrow against the stock to like buy the house and buy

I think the house cost like 2,500 bucks or something in the30s to build.

They borrowed against their AT&T stock.

AT&T, the Bell System, incentivized working-class people

to put X amount of their income away and actually become a shareholder.

And being a shareholder in the phone company, thats where my dads entire net worth was.

And so, when, after the collapse, a couple days after the collapse, when Cramer went on TV,

Jim Cramer went on TV on CNBC and that morning just goes,

Hey, if you need cash in like, the next five years of your life”—I mean, hes in a full panic.

If you watch the video its quite shocking. Its shocking CNBC actually let him on.

But hes sitting there going, “If you need cash in the next five years, youve just to sell everything and go to cash,

because we dont know where the bottom of this is.”

And two days laterI remember, Id been at Goldman Sachs, and my dad asked me my opinion.

A couple days later he sold all of his AT&T.

He would have sold his stock in the Catholic Church before he sold his stock in AT&T.

And he sold his stock.

And thatthat struck me as that this is a crisis of the institutions of our country, right?

This is athis is a massivewe now have an institutional crisis.

When guys like Marty Bannon, who the countryskind of this Steady Eddie guy who the whole thing is to raise a family,

to be there for the family, to be there for his community,

hes the kind ofthese are the kind of building blocks that society, civic societys built upon.

When guys like that are questioning the system and dumping their ownership in the system, the system cant go on like that.

Youre now in a real crisis.

It felt to me when we were watchingwe made a number of films about it, and one of the

one of the things that happened in the cascade, because we make political films, we were thinking about

lets talk about Sarah Palin, for example, somebody who could identify in some way what that was,

what that fear and that anger was, probably in your dad and lots of dads and moms all over the country. …

Thats one of the reasons I came back.

You know, I was actually living in Shanghai at the time.

I was living in the French Concession, spending most of my time there.

I had aI had a massive multiplayer video game company that had a big Asian presence in Hong Kong,

Kowloon, South Korea and in China…. So I was living there.

Came back because I thought there were some financial problems.

I was going to sell real estate.

But then my sister pointed me to this woman, Sarah Palin, whod just been namedwas going to be the vice president.

I actually went to the Republican convention as

just with a filmmaking guy, the guy who produced The Passion of the Christ, Steve McEveety,

and went to theand saw something unique in Palin and saw her go round.

People forget.

When the financial crisis, when Lehman was put into bankruptcy, which was put into bankruptcy, I think,

on the morning of Sept. 15 in London, right, and then it cascaded down,

the smartest guys in the room didnt realize that the commercial paper market, the global commercial paper market,

which is the way that every company in the world gets its working capital to kind of, you know,

make payroll and to pay for the lights going on and for the janitors and for everything thats pay

you know, GE, the biggest companies of the world, the commercial paper market,

every day youre selling commercial paper to provide working capital.

When that froze up on the morning of the 15th, the whole system froze up.

On that date, Sarah Palin and John McCain, I think, were up one point in the Gallup Poll on Barack Obama;

that people forget, Palin came with such force out of that thing

for the first two weeks before she started to be kind of destroyed, they were on fire.

It was, in that sequence of events that week, I think talks about the corruption of our institutions,

and I think it talks about how the elites are comfortable with decline.

Remember, on that Thursday morningMonday, it goes into bankruptcy.

By Thursday, theres a crisis that nobody knows whats going on in this commercial paper market.

The whole way that the whole entire global system is financed is now frozen up.

And thats when you have [Chair of the Federal Reserve Ben] Bernanke and [Treasury Secretary] Hank Paulson,

who are not alarmists, particularly not Bernanke, and hes an expert

remember, hes an expert in the Great Depression.

Thats his claim to fame; thats what his Ph.D. is in.

They go to the Oval Office to go see Bush, and they have a meeting, and they tell him, hey

and we know all of this by congressional testimony later.

So these are the facts.

They go to him and say: “Hey, by 5:00 today, we need a trillion dollars of cash infusion into the system,

or the American financial system will collapse in 72 hours.

The world financial system will collapse 48 hours after that, and we will have global anarchy and chaos.”

And Bush goes: “Thats interesting, but weve kind of

the White House counsel said weve kind of checked the Constitution.

I dont really have authority to do that.

Youve got to go over to Capitol Hill. Its kind of their problem.”

And so they go up to Capitol Hill.

They go to Nancy Pelosis office in the afternoon, and they had the same meeting.

In fact, theyve got to keep theirtheyve got to keep their Blackberries outside its so confidential.

And they talk in there about they need this cash infusion.

Thats when, you know, Hank Paulson gets on his knees to Nancy Pelosi and makes some sort of pitch to her.

The countrys in literallywhat the Germans and the Japanese military and the Soviets,

what nobody could ever do to us, Osama bin Laden, nobody, weve now done to ourselves.

We have literally caused a financial crisis that will bring down the entire system in 72 hours.

The biggest revolutionaries that have gone after the United States could never dream of what we had done to ourselves.

And so that began a cascade ofand heres the thing.

Nobody, nobodys ever been held accountable for it. Nobodys ever taken responsibility for it.

And it just kind ofthats why, you know, we have never recovered. Weve never recovered from that catastrophe.

Somebodys been held accountable, which is probably why we have Donald Trump sitting in the White House now.

Its conceivable to meand you and I can talk about it

what happens politically among the group that become thedeplorablesto Hillary Clinton,

theforgottento Donald Trump— …

The bang that went off on Nov. 9 of 2016 at 2:30 in the morning was lit in the Oval Office on Sept. 18 of 2008.

It was lit right in that room.


It was lit, that fuse, that long fuse that has this populist explosion exploded.

But every financial crisis, I think, in at least modern history is always followed by some sort of populistright?

Now sometimes that devolves into fascism and other things.

But every time theres a financial collapseand remember, this is the biggest financial collapse in the countrys history.

This is bigger thanthis is bigger than the Great Depression.

This is bigger than the one in the 1870s that caused such a big problem.

This is bigger than the one that caused the Federal Reserve [sic] in the early 20th century.

This is the biggest financial collapse in American history.

And this was one that was not done just by simple Ponzi schemes.

This was done by an organized, thought-through effort of the financial and corporate elites that

remember, the scams pulled off here are absolutely outrageous. …

And so thats why you had this immense collapse.

You had so many of the elites making so much money.

Then when it collapsed, they wanted the taxpayersthe whole thing of the trillion dollars.

The Federal Reserve didnt call all the financial institutions together and corporations and say:

Hey, boys, weve got a problem, right?

This is a problem, and we need to pass the hat.

Youve got to cough up some cash.”

That trillion dollars was from Marty Bannon.

They hitprint,” right?

They hitprint,” hitprint,” but the guys whos going to pay for it is the little guy.

We live in neofeudalism. This is not capitalism.

This is where you have an underclass, right, a Lumpenproletariat almost thats taken care of by the state;

you have the very wealthy; and you have this kind of neofeudalist working class and middle class in the middle

that pays for everything, and the guys at the top who weve socialized the risk, that trillion dollars of infusion, right?

Remember, the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve on the morning of Sept. 18, 2008,

when theyre in the Oval Office talking, is $880 billion.

The balance sheet of the Federal Reserve on Jan. 17, or Jan. 20 of 2017,

when Donald Trump raises his hand, is $4.5 trillion.

The most progressive president in the history of our country, President Obama, saved the wealthy,

and heres how they did it.

[Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner, they just turned on the taps of liquidity.

We call itthe technical term isquantitative easing.”

The not-technical term is called bailing out the people who are guilty, OK?

Essentially, if you owned anything, you had the greatest 10-year run in history.

Wait, wait, wait. … Lets move to the TARP [Troubled Asset Relief Program] vote and whether you think

so now all of that is happening.

You have to do TARP, the first one you have to do. You know why?

Your fiduciarywhen a guy like Bernanke walks in and says,

I need a trillion dollars,” right, you dont have time to debate.

Historys going to look at you.

When he says, “The American financial systems going to collapse in 72 hours

and the world financial system two days after that, and youre going to have global anarchy,”

theres not a person on earthI dont want to hear these libertarians and all these,

you know, free mar—“Oh, let capitalism take place.”


When they come in and ask for the first trillion in an emergency, I believe you have to say: “OK, weve got to do it.

I dont know what went on here, but if you tell me this is going to save me and at least get down the road, Ill do it.”

But remember, thats the first trillion.

We kept on for another $3.5 trillion. $3.5 trillion.

This is just bailing out the people that caused the problems.

Got to think about it for a second.

You know, Goldman Sachs didnt lose any equity.

None of the partners really missed any bonus payments.

GEs still in business, AIG.

It all still exists, all the donors, OK?

The reverse side of this, remember, there is a corollary to this thats quite powerful.

And we know from the notes of the Federal Reserve, a guy named Richard Fisher, the governor

the president of the Federal Reserve of Dallas, argued this in the room constantly.

He said by doing this quantitative easing, which youre just flooding the zone with liquidity,

we will save the institutions, and we will save anybody thats a big real estate holder or hedge fund or bank.

But he said, theres a huge reverse here.

Number one, savings accounts are going to go to zero-interest rates.

Savings accounts are going to go to zero.

So 5,000 years of the Western traditionback to the Marty Bannons

which is be a good householder, get a wife, get a mortgage, get some kids, and you save your money.

Well, now, if you save money, youre a sucker, because its broken the trust.

Thats the trust thats broken.

If you save money, youre a jerk because youre not going to get any interest paid. In fact, the banks going to charge you.

So theres been noyou cantyou cant put money away to save into the system.

Number two, the pension funds.

The pensions funds are going to be destroyed.

Today we have a $9.5 trillion gap between the obligations of the pension funds and what weve earned off the pension funds.

Why? Because it went to zero-interest rates, and the bonds they can buy have no juice in them. right?

The other thing is public schools and all this.

Even communities that are not leveraged cant issue bonds because theres no juice in the bonds,

because of negative interest rates, 1.5%.

Weve essentially put the burden of the bailout on the working class and middle class.

Thats why nobody owns anything.

But the millennials today are nothing but 19th-century Russian serfs.

Theyre better fed; theyre better clothed; theyre in better shape;

they have more information than anybody in the world at any point in time, but they dont own anything.

Theyre not going to own anything, OK?

And theyre 20%—if you mark in time against their parents,

theyre 20% behind in their income, and theres no pension plan in the future.

Theyre all gig economy.

Weve literally destroyed the middle class in this country.


And both political parties, by the way, this is not about Republicans and Democrats.

This is the way the system works,

and this is the way the system comes together to protect itself and to move itself forward, OK?

Because nobody understands even the rudimentaries of finance, right?

And they keep the public kind of economically illiterate, right?

This allows to go on. And now were in that crisis, that crisis, what Trump understood

Wait, dont go to Trump yet.

So weve created this world of unhappy people.

The middle class is shrinking and destroyed in lots of ways.

Were going to catch back up with it in a minute.

But now lets go to you, Breitbart, coming here, coming out ofout of Los Angeles,

coming to Washington with what kind of a plan, what kind of an idea?

What was Breitbart in Los Angeles, and what does Breitbart become in Washington?

Andrew was, had been Matt Drudge editor.

Hed been one of the launch editors for Arianna Huffington and the Huffington Post.

He always had a vision of what a news site could be.

At the time, he was a blog, right?

People kind of posted stuff; there were citizen journalists.

Andrew had this big vision of what a real news site could be.

We were the blog kind of for the Tea Party.

This Tea Party energy, you know, right after the financial collapse, in the spring of the next year,

in fact, Rick Santelli had this rant, this very famous rant, that took place when the first TARP thing was being talked about.

And he was basically saying, “Hey, all the working-class people are paying for this, right?”

That rant initiated these group of kind of disparate people to have a meeting

and basically have people come out on April 15, on Tax Day, April 15 at 2009.

That was the beginning of the Tea Party.

And Andrew saw very quickly, as I saw, that there was this real populist power in this;

that this was something totally different.

This wasntthis was not standard Republican Party. This was a whole new deal.

And so we started covering that, and Breitbart kind of became the blog site for that.

Andrew wanted to do a news site.

We were able to raise some money.

And in 2011, we closed on the money,

and we decided that the center of gravity of our political coverage had to be in Washington, D.C.

And we leased this house right in back of the Supreme Court, and we called it theBreitbart Embassy.”

And the reason was, we were an embassy in a foreign capital, right, because everybody told us

I mean, we were lectured by guys saying: “Youre not going to have any access.

Youre going to have to play the game to get access.”

And we kind of said: “Hey, were just going to kick down doors.

How about this? Were going to be totally different.”

And so we called this place the Embassy for the simple reason that, you know,

we thought we were in an embassy in a foreign capital; that this was owned and run by the permanent political class.

And so a handful of people, like Peter Schweizer and others, Matt Boyle and Andrew, we started this news site.

Now, unfortunately, Andrew died, tragically, you know, four days before the site was to be launched.

He was working 20 hours a day to build the site, to perfect it.

He had thesehe was quite a visionary when it came to new media and how people accessed information.

And so the whole site you see today was really his creation.

He created every component piece of it, including how newsflowed through the system, how we promoted things, etc.

And so that was this kind of rowdyand remember, one thing, decision we made very fundamentally

and I kind of was, I think, a big influence on Andrew on thisI said,

Look, attacking [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, were so far removed from having any influence over that,”

because at this time we were a very small site.

I said: “Were the populist, you know, kind of economic nationalist part of this.

Lets attack the real enemy.

And the real enemys the Republican establishment.

What were going to do is just go after the House leadership.

Were going to go after the [Sen.] Mitch McConnells; were going to go after the donors.

Were just going to go hard at kind of this kind of [Rep.] Paul Ryan philosophy.

Why did you think [Speaker of the House John] Boehner and [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor were vulnerable?

Because they were vulnerable, because of the huge disconnect.

Remember, the one thing the Democrats, they have lined up

they have actually, at least till here recently, donors and their base kind of line up.

The Republican Partys totally dysfunctional.

Its essentially a working-class party.

The votes all come from working-class or lower-middle-class people predominantly, right?

And it doesnt represent their interests.

Theres a book written by a guy called Whats the Matter with Kansas?, where he kind of walks through how the

the donor class, the Singers and the Kochs, these kind of libertarians, have this entirely different concept,

this kind of Austrian school of economics concept, that the political apparatchiks

remember, the consultant class, the political class around it and the donors all line up perfectly.

Unfortunately, youve got a working-class party thatfor instance, trade.

You know, mass illegal immigration, which the chamber of commerce pushes all the time,

and more legal immigration and trade are just two sides of the same coin, right?

The two sides of the same coin, its suppression of workerswages, OK?

Mass illegal immigration is to flood the zone against predominantly black and Hispanic working class

so that youve got unlimited, you know, unlimited labor pool, and you can keep wages down for higher margins.

Immigration and the H-1B visas are the same thing in the tech area, that you dont have to hire American citizens;

I can do it with these visas to increase margins.

Trade is the same thing.

Trade is just youre competing against foreign labor and foreign countries unfairly.

And so all of it is to suppress workerswages and to have higher margins;

therefore, higher stock prices; therefore, more wealth, of which the workers dont own any piece of.

And so our thesis was not just the cultural stuff but the economic stuff.

You have an ability to re-form this Republican Party and make it a true populist entity.

But they werent going to let that happen. They were going to resist that in almost

They did, and we took them down. We took down Cantor.

Remember, we took down Cantor with Dave Brat.

The first time in the history of the republic that a sitting majority leader had ever been beaten.

Remember, he was beaten in a primary that

Cantor was up here in D.C. on the day of the primary and schlepped down there the last night.

Fox News, when they came on last [sic] night, didnt even know Dave Brats name.

This was an unknown.

And we had worked it with Laura Ingraham.

I mean, we had beenBreitbart had been all over this.

We had Dave Brat on our radio show, I think, every week for the 10 weeksrun-up to the election.

We saw real vulnerability.

Did you know it was coming?

You definitely knew it was coming.

That wasalso happened to be my home district, but I could feel it.

I knew that that a guy like Bratthey were very weak; they were very weak.

They didnt have a grasp, and this Tea Party revolt was picking up.

You had theyou had theyou had the huge Tea Party revolt in 2010, which we won 62 seats.

The Republican Party didnt see that coming.

That was all grassroots-oriented, which played out over time.

Remember, today, the 2000really, Obamas08 and particularly the primaries in 2010

I think changed American politics pretty fundamentally, because the concept got to be mobilization versus persuasion.

I dont believe we live in an era of persuasion anymore.

People are so saturated with this all day long, they kind of know where they come out.

Youve just got to motivate them to get out there and vote.

Youve go to motivate them to go door to door.

So the08 Obama primary that completely caught Clinton by surprise was all about mobilization.

The 2010 Tea Party, particularly the House part of it, that was absolutely, you know, the biggest in the history,

I think, since the Great Depression, 1932, was about mobilization.

Thats why Romney didnt want to have anything to do with it in12, right?

He washed his hands of it.

And thats why in this very room in January of 2013, they had this huge

this huge controversy betweenthe Republican Party did theautopsy.”

They said, “Oh, the reason thatthe reason that Romney lost was because we didnt reach out to the Hispanic community;

we didnt talk about DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals];

we didnt talk about, you know, open borders, immigration policy.”

And a young guy named Stephen Miller, whos on the staff,

hed been with [Rep.] Michele Bachmann for the Tea Party revolt, we were very close to.

Stephen Miller and [Sen.] Jeff Sessions and myself had a dinner in this very room

basically the same week that Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes

had this dinner with [Sen. Chuck] Schumer and [Sen. Marco] Rubio in New York to talk about the Gang of Eight bill.

And we just came down and looked at this.

There was a lawyer at Hunton & Williams in Richmond, that wrote a three-part piece,

I believe it was, for RealClearPolitics.

His name is Sean Trende.

He looked at the same analysis coming out of 2012,

which remember, all the donors thought Romney was going to win in a landslide.

He looked at the same thing and said, “The inability of the Republican Party to connect with working-class voters

is the single biggest reason that theyre not winning.”

And thats where Sessions and I talked about, were going to take trade from number 100, right?

Its not an issue.

The whole Republican Partys got this fetish on free tradetheyre like automatons,

Oh, free trade, free trade, free trade”—which is a radical idea,

particularly when youre against a mercantilist opponent like China.

So were make trade from number 100 to number two, and were going to take immigration number three to number one.

The one and two issues will be immigration and trade.

And that will be focused on workers, right?

And were going to remake the Republican Party. In fact, Id

Wait a minute. Thats like the anti-autopsy result.

180%. Autopsyand I told Reince [Priebus] later, to his face, it was a total joke and another donor-driven lie, OK?

No statistics in the victory in 2016 showed that.

And by the way, all the guys in the verticals, the Jeb Bushes and the Marco Rubios and all these other guys, Chris Christie,

all the geniuses and their staffs all bought into the autopsy, remember.

They thought we were crazy.

You know, we had Palin in08 and hoped that shed run in12, and she justsheit just didnt work out.

I actually worked with Lou Dobbs and tried to get Lou Dobbs to run in12 as a populist,

because it was Lou Dobbseconomic ideas on his TV show all the time, particularly China and immigration and trade,

and Lou Dobbs, for a host of reasons, didnt do it.

And here I actually tried to talk Sessions into doing it.

I told Sessions, just like I told Palin: “Youre not going to be president of the United States.

But remember, if we win the primaryand you will win the primaryyou control the Republican apparatus;

you take over the RNC [Republican National Committee] for the whole next cycle.

You can turn the RNC; you can turn the Republican Party into a worker-based party.

The goal is to get control of the party.

Youre not going to win the presidency against this. That will take time.”

And Sessions goesI remember, he saidit was about five hours.

We walked down to his front steps, and he saidhe turns to me and goes, “Its not me; Im not going to do it,” he says.

But our guy will come along. Well find our guy.”

And that guy a couple years later turned out to be Donald Trump.

So you go hunting for a guy?

And youre banging them hard.

Youre banging Boehner and everybody else hard on the front page of Breitbart.


So help me with the understanding of the growth of Breitbart through those two years while youre

I think when AndrewI think when Andrew passed away, the night we opened the site, I think if you go back and check,

I think we were at 10 millionI think we were at 10 million uniquesexcuse me, we were 10 million page views a month.

I think we were a million and a half uniques.

I think the total time on site, total time was 90 seconds, and 70% of our traffic was coming from Drudge, OK?

At the height of the game. I think later in August, when I left in August of 2016, I think we were,

you know, 300 million page views a month, 40 million uniques, people staying on site five minutes.

It was a whole different deal.


Combination ofcombination of we werenumber one, we wereAndrews site, it was news, not opinion.

We didnt put anyour opinion was in the news.


Well, look, its like the editorial page of The New York Times is on the front page.

If The New York Times didnt publish, CNN would be a test pattern every day, OK?

Thats thelook, its all partisan.

It all comes from what I call an angle of attack.

Were partisans, you know?

And we putand we put it right into our news.

And people read it and know it.

The facts are the facts.

You can dispute the facts, but the angle of attack is right in there.

So it was going to be hard-hitting, populist, nationalist.

We were going to havewere going to have heroes and enemies.

Whos reading it? Whos reading that then?

We caught on with this kind of working-class, middle-class audience.

We made the stuff very intelligent.

We had these radio shows that were listener-based.

We justwe got people engaged.

The comments section, which is not for the uninitiated, I took off almost virtually all controls on the thing.

We had monitors to stop the really bad guys, but I got lit up more.

The reason that all the conservative media had gotten away from comments

is that most of the comments are attacking the writers and the editors.

And, you know, we took it off and said, hey, well build a community here.

And it was the comments section that started to build some of the power of Breitbart, coupled with we were just smarter.

We had amazing search-engine optimization.

It was a merger of technology and content. Search-engine optimization.

And particularly I had an entire team that did nothing but deconstruct the algorithms of Facebook.

Without Facebook, Breitbart could have never gotten to the size it got. …

You saw the Harvard study where we were the most powerful news organization in 2016.

That was all by design.

Wed literally focused on being able to deliver a punch, OK?

And we did it, just like the guys at Harvard said.

We did it by understanding Facebook, understanding search-engine optimization, maximizing the technology part of it,

and also comments to build community, have people have ownership in this, right?

Well, and also understanding that there was a division in America, and half the division didnt have a voice.

This whole thing on division, too, this isits the taproot of democracy.

What you want is engagement, OK?

The left was doing it with Talking Points Memo and everything.

You want engagement.

We just had in18 a midterm election, 113 million people voted.

Democracy in America has never been more robust.

And one of the reasons its robust is youve got these sites like Breitbart,

and on the left youve got Talking Points Memo and the Huffington Post, that have people engaged;

they have people buying in; they have people passionate about this, OK?

Now its permeated not just political culture, because of Trump and now people like AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez], etc.;

its permeated popular culture.

We now have the most engaged politicalthe country is all about politics.

Every dinner party you go to, every conversation you have, Saturday Night Live, all the late-night comics.

If you look back at Johnny Carsons era and you look back at the Tonight Show and all this,

hed have maybe a few jokes about Reagan and stuff at the beginning,

but now the heart of the nightly setup of [Jimmy] Kimmel and all the Tonight Show and all that, is politics.

And why is that?

You now have people that are engaged. Theyve bought in. And its aspirational.

Its part of theirits part of their lifestyle.

Its like you wear a certain brand of shirt, you have a certain brand of politics.

And this is what I mean by mobilization.

Were not in an era of persuasion anymore.

Everybodytheres so manysince the social media had disintermediated the traditional media aspects

and thats one of the things Andrew understoodis that now its part of your life.

Its an aspirational lifestyle brand that youre either a progressive Democrat, a reactionary Republican,

a Trump guy wearing a red hat, or somebody that believes in AOC and thinks Trumps a devil.

Thats all fine. Youve bought into that, and thats where you go.

So people say its divided.

Yes, the countrys been divided before, and people have got to come at this and make their own decision.

But its very divided.

And the media has definitely added to that by reinforcing and also presenting to people the news in a certain way.

Fantastic, so thank you.That sections done.

Next section, Trump, the campaign, all of that.

Does he find you, or do you find him?

Are you two guys looking for each other?

What is it? What happens between the two of you? How do you first meet?

He comesyou know, in 2010, Im making these films for Dave Bossie at Citizens United.

Id just made Generation Zero, which was about the financial collapse.

And thats where I kind of made my chops in the conservative media area.

We were on Fox.

That film was about this new generation thats not going to own anything, right?

So I made that film in 2009.

So Im making films. Im making three films for the 2010 midterm all aboutand Im editing for Bossie.

And Bossie calls me up and says, “What are you doing tomorrow?”

And I said: “What do you mean, what am I doing?

Im at your studio editing these three films that weve got to get out in four weeks.”

He says: “Well, can you go to New York?”

I go, “No, I cant.”

He says: “Well, youve got to go with me. Im going to go see Donald Trump.”

And I go: “Look, I dont need to see Donald Trump.

I dont know Donald Trump. I dont care to know Donald Trump.”

He goes, “Well, youve got to come with me because hes thinking of running for president.”

And I said, “Of what country?”

And so I get on the train, and were talking. We go up there on Amtrak.

And I said, now, Im there for one reason. Im the Tea Party populist guy.

Im supposed to explain to himbecause Daves a traditional limited-government conservative.

He loves the Tea Party, buthe doesnt quite get what this whole things about.

So hes going to walk through the whole thing of a primary and all the technical stuff; Im going to add the juice.

So we go there, and its amazing.

We sit in the same conference room that six years later the Billy Bush weekend and all this stuff

is going to play out, the exact same spot.

In fact, Trump and I sit kind of in the same location where the final decision

on not doing the TV shows about Billy Bush weekend, which is really what saved his candidacy.

Whats your first read of the guy? Whats his aspect? Whatd you think?

Well, I was not lookingI had no interest sitting in the meeting because Id never watched the show.

I just remember him as a guy that was bankrupt all the time and a guy Goldman Sachs would never finance.

So hes not in my radar scope. Just a promoter.

I get in there, and I was actuallyI was, number one, blown away by his presence.

People like Palin and Obama and these people,

theres something about their charisma and something about their ability to own a room.

Trump walks in, and he owns the room.

Theres a presence about the guy that I was notbecause I didnt take him very seriously.

We sit down. Its a two-hour meeting.

He doesnt know a lot, because hes not supposed to know.

Its not that hes notits about politics and very specific.

And he doesnt know any policy, which he shouldnt; hes a real estate guy and a TV guy.

He doesnt know any policy.

Daves walking through this.

But what struck me, we turned toI talked about populism, and I sayI goI give him the history of populism,

Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan, bring him up to date with Ross Perot and everything like that.

And he turns to me, he goes, “Thats what I am.”

I go, “What?”

And he goes, “A popularist.”

I go, “No, no, no, its populist.”

And he goes, “Yes, yeah, I got it: popularist.”

And I go, “No, no. Its populist.”

And after I said it the second time, Bossie gives me the kick under the table.

He sayspopularist,” I let it go.

And then he turns onhe turns on about China, and we get into this conversation about China.

And we talk about trade.

We talk about non-trade barriers, talk about the South China Sea; we talk about currency manipulation.

Of a two-hour meeting, the China thing is 20 or 30 minutes long.

Its the one thing he knows.

And I realize hes regurgitating my guy Lou Dobbs, but Im telling you,

its the one thing hes engaged, and hes got well-formed opinions.

So we leave the meeting.

Bossie sayson the train on the way back, Bossie says, “Whatd you think?”

And Im sitting there going: “You know, Ive been thinking about it.

His thing on popularist, I was wrong, and he was right.”

And he goes, “What do you mean?”

He says, “You wouldnt let off on that; thats why I kicked you.”

And I said: “Yeah, I was trying to give him the standard thing.

He thinks of things differently.

He is a popularist; hes not a populist.

He thinks about things from himself.”

And I said: “Thats pretty amazing.

He was actually right, and I was wrong.”

And Bossie goes, “Yeah, I could tell that.”

And then he says: “What else?

What about this China thing? You guys were on China forever.”

I go: “Dave, heres the amazing thing.

I cant, in Washington, D.C., outside maybe some noodge at a think tank,

have the conversation I just had with this guy on China.

Nobody will talk about non-trade barriers; nobody will talk about currency manipulation.

They couldnt pick the South China Sea.

He talks about the South China Sea.”

I said, “Its amazing to me he actually has what I think is one of the biggest threats,

if not the biggest threat weve got coming, he understands China better than anybody in this city,

and that is going to be”—and he says, “What do you think about—?”

I said, “No chance this guyll run. Notit will never happen. Hell never run for president.”

So you sort of park him.

I just kind of dismiss it.

And lateryou know, Bossie gave him two things to do.

I said, “Youve got to have two asks for this guy leaving.”

And Bossie did.

He said: “Number one, youve got to give, in the maximum, of the $2,500,

youve got to give to every congressman and every senator whos running

and make them come to Trump Tower, look you in the eye, shake your hand.

Its not a marker, but youre getting into system.”

I think that came to $500,000 or something.

The second is, youve got to write a policy book.”

And so I would tease Dave.

Dave says, “What do you think?”

I said, “Theres no chance he writes any checks, zero.”

And I said, “Number two, hell never write a policy book, forget it.”

Whywhy did you know that about him?

I justI know guys like Trump. I just see Trump.

Hes notyoure writing him a check; hes not writing you a check. Its not going to happen, right?

Unless hes got some sort of problem in a city about a casino, youre not getting a check, OK?

Not for some congressman from Kansas.

His mind doesnt think like that.

So I would keep teasing Bossie.

And eventually, I said: “Hows that 500,000?

How many of those meetings have you had?

How many hands are you shaking at Trump Tower, right?”

And eventually Dave calls me up: “He wrote a $250,000 check, I think, to Karl Roves general fund,

like three weeks to go, and bitched and moaned about it the whole time.”

Now, heres the interesting thing.

The guy whos the managing editor for me, Wynton Hall, is one of the great ghostwriters out there.

Once a year, we give him permission to ghostwrite a book.

And Wynton calls me up at like the end of this year and says,

Hey, I need time, and this ones going to take a little longer.”

I go, “Fine.”

I say, ”How long you need?”

He says, “Its going to takeit could take up to, you know, four months or five months.”

I said, “This crap you type out for these conservatives takes 30 days.”

I said, “Who takes four months?”

He says, “Ive got a guy whos got the biggest advance in the history of Regnery.”

And I go: “Regnery?

Advance? They dont give advances.

I mean, its not their business model.

What is this?”

He goes, “Its Trump.”

I go, “Are you kidding me?”

He says, “Yes, to write aits to write a policy book.”

I go, “Youre kidding me.”

And that book, I think the subtitle was Make America Great Again.

That book, if you read it and look at the 2016this book came out, I believe, in 2011.

And it wasits an amazing book.

Wynton Hall is a fantastic writer.

He said Trump was so engaged in this book.

This book has many of the foundational issues that Trump ran on later.

So its quite amazing.

But Trump, you know, there was some element of him that always looked at Obama and thought he could take Obama on.

But I think he was smart enough to realize he would have gotten crushed going after Obama.

He was smart enough to kind of wave off on it.

But the seeds of his interest was enough to start taking meetings, to start

and Dave gave him a very detailed presentation onDont worry about the general election.

You worry about the election thats in front of you.

Worry about winning the Republican nomination.”

Dave had a quite detailed map of that.

So you could tell it was serious.

And then later on, what happened is Dave Bossie starts putting on these cattle calls very early on in the system.

So Trump showed up at CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference].

He gave a great speech.

And then the first one I remember I think was in late 2013 or early 2014; it was in New Hampshire.

And I go up, and they had a cattle call.

It was Rand Paul; it was Newt Gingrich; it was Ted Cruz.

You had all the kind of conservatives around with the media all over Cruz and all over Rand Paul; they were the hot thing.

And I think [Scott] Walker was there, too, I think.

And Trump spoke. And what I would do when these guys would speak,

I would sit off to the side and just watch the audience.

And Trump gave a totally nontraditional, nontraditional Republican speech.

He talked about trade. He talked about immigration.

He talked aboutand not in politicalspeak.

Every other guy came up there, I dont care if its Rand Paul or Mike Lee or Newt Gingrich or Ted Cruz,

all of them, they all speak in a political vernacular.

Now, these were grassroots leaders, Tea Party, the people you have to convince in New Hampshire to work for you.

Trump comes up, totally off script, just stream of consciousness.

I think he had a speech. Never even looked at it. Stream of consciousness.

These people are leaning forward.

People are clapping. Hes getting standing ovations.

And Im sitting there going, “This is amazing.”

So we were doing our radio show, and Trump was going to come and do an interview with us.

We got Sam Nunberg to give us an interview.

So Im sitting there going, “This guy is on fire.” Right?

And you could tell in the room he was kind of owning the room.

And Jeremy Petersthats my buddy from The New York Timeswe interviewed Jeremy.

Jeremys beathe had covered Andrew for years

Jeremys beat at the Times was to cover the crazy grassroots of the Republican Party, right?

So we interviewed him.

And Im sitting there with Jeremy.

I go: “Hey, Jeremy, Ive got Trump coming up next.

If youre good, Ill get you five minutes with Trump so you can interview him.”

Jeremy looks at me and goes, “Steve, if my editor found out that I even talked to Donald Trump, Id be fired.”

And I go, “Why?”

And he says: “Hes not a candidate. This isthis is just show.”

Publicity stunt.

This is a publicity stunt; this is a marketing stunt.”

And soand by the way, CNBC, MSNBC, theyre all up there.

The only interview he had all day was Breitbart Radio and then Breitbart News.

Nobody would even consider it.

And he owned the room.

And then I started noticing, as he would go to these things, he was owning these rooms.

I mean, you could tell in these grassroots things that Bossie kept putting on.

My sense was, and you go back and look at it, you guys hadnt really decided yet.

There was Cruz; there was this; there was that; its going to be somebody else.

And Trump was never getting the oxygen.

We would give him fair coverage, right?

But we hadremember, because look, its aits like this whole thing with thealt-right,” right?

To build a massive news site, its like sedimentary rockyou need different layers of it.

So we would have the Christian conservatives; we would have the libertarians, the Rand Paul guys;

we would have the limited-government conservatives, the Ted Cruz guys;

we would have the gay Republican, Lincoln club guys.

Thealt-rightstarted as, before it got taken over by these kind of white nationalists,

when we originally got involved with it, these were the guys that said:

Hey, all this conservatism is alltheres no fight in it.

We want an alternative that actually fights, right? It was kind of these memes….

So my point is, theres probably 20 groups. Of that, we tried to cover everybody.

Honestly, if you go back and look at the coverage, probably Ted Cruz is the guy that

in fact, Ted Cruz deems to give Breitbart, when he goes to Liberty and announces his candidacy

at Liberty University in that massive rally with 15,000 students, only Breitbart is backstage.

He invites us to the family quarters. We do his wife, interview his wife.

We then have all this private time with Ted Cruz, because were like the Cruz site, because part of our

part of the sedimentary rock is limited-government, Heritage organization conservatism, right?

This whole populist nationalist part of it is a significant part, but its not the overwhelming thing.

Were getting more and more populist every day.

Trump comes up, and really the key moment is coming down the escalator.

When Trumpat the top of the escalator, if you go back and look at the polling, I think Trump was in seventh place, right?

At the bottom of the escalator, in the speech, and particularly when the media bitesand Im sitting there watching.

We have five people up at Trump Tower.

We have Boyle leading an entire team.

Weve got wall-to-wall coverage. …

And in the speech, when he starts going on to not just the immigration part and trade, which nobodys ever talked about,

but when he starts doing the over-the-top stuff, and I goI said: “You watch.

Theyre going to bite hard. And theyre going to bite hard and blow this up.”

Im sitting there watching this thing on TV.

When he starts talking about the Mexican rapists and everything like that, I go, “Oh, my God.”

I said, “This is—” I said: “Hes just buriedtheyre going to go nuts.

CNN is literally going to broadcast 24 hours a day.”

By thathe goes to Iowa, I think, that night.

Its all they talk about.

He goes from number seven.

Hes at one and never looks back.

The next-day polling, Trumps gone to one.

In fact, I think its the next day or the day after,

Don Lemon has him on for the most classic Trump interview in human history.

Lemons sitting there hammering him

Youve got to show us some facts. Youve got to show us some facts.”

And Trump goesits a TVits a phone interview.

Trump goes: “Don! Don! Somebodys doing the raping,” right?

But it was the mainstream media that catapulted Trump frombecause remember, when people

at the top of the escalator, nobody still thought, even though he had filed his financial report, right,

which in hindsight, you know, is the financial report, but nobody thought

they thought it was a marketing ploy to get a better deal at The Apprentice, etc.

The mainstream media catapulted him to the number one.

And then it was within 30 days we had the Fox News, the 1st, on Aug. 1, I think it was, was the

was the debate when Fox News, when [Rupert] Murdoch and [Roger] Ailes, particularly Murdoch, and Ailes,

being part of the Bush apparatus, decided they were going to kneecap Donald Trump right out of the box.

And thats what Megyn Kellythey went through his Twitter feed; they went through all The Apprentice tapes;

they went through everything and came out and did a hit like the left would do on somebody.

And thats when all war broke out.

Thats when Breitbartthats when you had to choose sides.

Whos in the war?

The war was Fox and all the conservative mediaNational Review, Weekly Standard.

The Republicanbasically, its a racket.

Its a racket, because the people are over here.

The voters are focused on illegal immigration, trade deals, jobs, you know, why income inequality, wheres my pay raise,

basic nuts-and-bolts stuff that peoplethe sovereignty of the country.

The National Review, Weekly Standard, neoliberal neocons are kind of at the beck and call of the donors.

Its a total disconnect on foreign policy.

And remember, one of the powers of Trump and the basic thing is that Americas in decline,

and the elites are OK with that. This is about managed decline.

So whether its health care, the southern border, NATO, China, Iranpick it, right?—the education system,

were in managed decline, and the elites are fine with that.

And whats looked at as the Republican elites are OK [with that],

because theyre kind of the junior partner and the punching bag of Obama and these progressive Democrats,

and they dont do anything.

They kind of agree with them at the end of the day.

Remember, after 2014, the reason Obama becomes kind of a hero to the Breitbart staff

we call himhonorary honey badger”—because were humping this thing in14, Ebola, the border,

and all of a sudden, he gets smoked in the midterm elections, OK?

What does he do? He calls a press conference for the next day. Press conference, everybody shows up

This is the shellacking?

Yeah, he gets shellacked.

He loses the Senate. He shows back up. He gets smoked.

He calls a press conference, and all CNN and everybody, New York Times,

is he going to listen to what the people are saying?

Is the country going in a different direction?

Is Obama going to listen?

He gets up there and goes: “OK, guys, heres how it is.

Im president of the United States, and youre not.”

He goeshe has 10 executive orders.

Im going to sign immediately.

And by the way, you know that DACA thing?

Ive got a DAPA [Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents].

Im adding the parents on to it.

How do you like that?”

Im sitting there going, “This guys my role model.”

I said he just got smoked, and he comes out and hits you right in the mouth.

This is a leader!

Remember, [Speaker of the House John] Boehner collapses.

We get the omnibus.

Everything we fought for we just won! We just won!

And Boehner does this omnibus bill, gives him Planned Parenthood, gives him DACA, everything hes wanted and more.

Thats when we realized the Republican apparatus is the Washington Generals to their Harlem Globetrotters, right?

Youre just set to lose.

And sobut that is this thing that builds up.

And so when you get to the Fox situation, Fox has chosen a side.

Its so evident in thatin that debate that theyre there to kneecap Donald Trump, OK?

Theyre there to take him out.

And thats when we go, OK.

So we run 20 stories on Megyn Kelly.

I get Tony Lee and Matt Boyle, my two hammers.

They go right after Megyn Kelly.

Were going to Alinsky her, right?

Were going to cut her out from thecull her out from the herd and just hit her nonstop.

And after about 48 hours, I get a call from Ailes, who was kind of a mentor.

But remember, in building Breitbart, I never allowed anybody at Breitbart to go on Fox, ever.

I went on a couple of times about films


Because National Review, Rich Lowry, Tucker Carlson at the time, Daily Caller,

none of those guys existed unless they were on Fox.

Theyre all on Fox; their guys are on Fox. Theyre a subsidiary of Fox.

Whenwhen Ailes calls them up, theyve got to line up in a certain way, and this was the payoff.

He calls up; theyve all got to line up in back of Megyn Kelly.

Were independent.

We dont need Ailes. I dont need Ailes financially. Hes not going to do anything for me, right?

So we never anyI was never on Fox.

None of our reporters were ever on Fox.

If you want to come here and get some story and get a Drudge link and go on Fox,

youre in the wrong line of work, because its not going to happen.

Were Breitbart, and weve got our own point of view; were going to do it our own way.

And this is where it came down to.

All of the rest of them line up with thosewith anti-Trump.

And Ailes calls me up and says: “Youve got to knock off these stories.

Shes crying. Shes all upset. Shes getting death threats.”

I go, “It sounds like a personal problem.”

I said: “Were not backing off.

Were going to put more stories up tomorrow.”

And he goes: “Youve got to calmwhat do you guys, you guys”—says: “No, youre not going to pull what the left pulls.

This is the typical drive-by.

Youre going to go into a guys Twitter feed?

Youre going to go into 14 years of a show, and this is what youre going to come up with, is Rosie ODonnell?

It doesnt roll like that, OK?

Were all in now, OK?

And if you dont like it, thats your problem, because I dont owe you anything.

You have no bearing whatsoever on how we do.”

What were the stakes for you, Steve, at that moment?

Well, the stakes were the country, the countrys.

To me, its about the country.

You finally have somebody in Trump that is now giving voice

to kind of this voiceless working class and lower middle class thats had no representation.

Theyve been voting for Republicans that work exactly against their economic interest.

Look at these trade deals.

They have all this theory of free markets.

These free markets against a mercantilist power is destroying the manufacturing base of the country, right?

You have these guys who were chamber of commerce thatlook, the state of Texas is controlled by Republicans.

You have Republicanwhy cant you shut downwhy cant you shut down the border?

The reason is they want the labor.

The Republican Party donors want the cheap labor.

Thats the point.

So you finally have a guy thats speaking in a nonpolitical vernacular,

and you can tell hes connecting with people already in the rallies.

I said, this is our guy.

Hes a very imperfect instrument, but hes an armor-piercing shell, OK?

And heres the other thing: Theyre scared to death, right?

They dont know how to handle this guy.

And remember, hes againstthis Republican primary, theres 16.

This is the flower of a generation of a billion dollars put in by the Kochs, put in by the Singers,

put in by the donors, the Heritage, AEI [American Enterprise Institute], every vertical.

Youve got [Jeb] Bush; youve gotfor the libertarians youve got Rand Paul.

For the neocons youve got Marco Rubio.

For the big-government conservatives youve got Chris Christie. Youve got Ben Carson.

You look across the board; these 16 in every vertical, its the best weve ever had.

Its a hell of a field.

And youve got Trump.

And Trump is going toI tell the guys, hes going to go through this thing like a scythe through grass, right?

Because hes talking about what the voters care about.

These other guys are kind of, you know, mumbo-jumbo on all this stuff that you cant win national elections anymore,

the kind of the Heritage organization talking points, the Paul Ryan, you know, limited government.

Its fine in concept.

You cant winyou cant win places like Wisconsin and Michigan

and the big heartland states in this country to win national elections.

You showed that with [Mitt] Romney. Romney and Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan would get smoked by nine points in Wisconsin, OK?

Heres a guy that can actually get Reagan Democrats, can actually get low-propensity voters.

You could see it line up at the time.

So we went toFox and ourselves went to war.

And I have tremendous respect for Roger Ailes.

He just sees the world differently.

They think Trumps a disaster and is going to blow up the whole thing.

And remember, Roger worked for the Bushes.

This is a totally Bush mindset, OK?

The Bush neoliberal, global economics, neocon foreign policy,

which is the elites that are leading us into decline, Trump is a total rejection of that.

And theyre not into the rejection business; theyre not into disruption.

And Trump is a huge disrupter.

He sends his lawyer down here the next day, who I know pretty well, his personal lawyer.

He come[s] down, and kind of like in the Godfather, give me some bad news.

You guys have got to stop; this is going to start getting ugly.”

And I said, “Were not stopping.” I said: “Were all in.

Were a populist nationalist site, OK?

And this guy is the populist nationalist candidate.

Were going to do the news. Well do it straight.

And were going after Megyn Kelly, OK? Because shes bad news.”

I told Ailes in the second phone call, I said: “Look, youve created a monster.

Dont think that monsters not going to turn on you one day.”

I said: “Shes out of control, right?

And were going to take her on.”

And so we kept pounding every day of anti-Megyn Kelly articles.

And of course, if you looked at the comments section, these things were getting 10,000 and 15,000, 20,000 comments.

The whole Trump, all the Pepes, all these Trump guys were pounding in here.

And it caused a problem.

But it started toFox, I think, started to get the joke, that this guys eventually going to be a real guy.

And so throughout the fall and winter, it was this intense kind of battle.

But we werewe had his back the entire way.

So let's talk aboutthe Access Hollywood moment,

back in that conference room, sitting there, tell me what you said to Trump.

Tell me what you thought when you heard it. Take me in there.

So we finally had Trump very engagedlets say this:

When I got there, in August, debate prep was not exactly top of his list.

Trump as a student would be your roommatehes what I call a game-day player.

Hes not a guy thats going to every lecture, getting the books, the textbooks and reading the notes, OK?

He comes in the night before with a pot of coffee, learns what hes got to learn, goes in, gets whatever grade he gets, right?

I know that guy.

So we finallyTrump is very engaged, because this is the second debate,

and its the one thats going to be in the round.

This is one hes not going to be anchored to a podium.

He can get out and kind of, you can see the chemistry and stuff like that. So this is the one.

And hes actuallywere actually doing real prep.

And that day were up in the 26th-floor conference room, and its Friday afternoon, about 2:00.

And Im sitting there going, you know, this iswere closing.

Were still losing, but weve closedwe were like 12 points down, or 10, or 16.

Whatever thing you take in mid-August, we were way down.

Weve been closing it ever since.

So were getting nowwere competitive.

And all of a sudden, Hope Hicks shows up outside the glass thing, and shes giving me the signal. And so I step out.

I go out, and I read this thing.

Shes got this transcript, and shes like about to cry.

She goes, “Oh, this is terrible.”

I go, “What is this?”

She goes, “Oh, theyve got some videotape, audio.”

I look at it and I read it.

The first time I read it through, it doesnt look that bad to me.

And I go, I said: “What are you so upset about? What is this?”

The Washington Post is going to publish a story in an hour.”

And I go, “Whats so bad about it?”

And she goes: “Well, look it. He says, ‘Im going to grab them by the p---y.’”

And I go, “Oh, maybe I havent focused.” So I look down, I go, “Oh, OK, OK.”

So I called Don McGahn, whos our legal guy.

And so Don McGahns going to call The Washington Post legal department.

Im going to call, like, the editor.

And I call the reporter: “I dont want to talk to you. Give me your boss.”

You know, Im the big shot: “Give me your boss.”

And I go, and I said: “Look, heres the thing.

Youve got this thing right here.

Give it to us. Well authenticate it.

You know, well do our thing and authenticate it, and well make sure well come back to you.

And it may take a couple days, but by Tuesday, well be back to you,

and well authenticate if this is really Trump and it hasnt been modified.”

You want to get beyond the debate.

Thank you.

And I said, “Well authenticate it.”

Im like this big shot: “Well authenticate it; well deal with this.”

He goes, “Hey, look, dude.”

He says: “Its 3:50. This things going up in nine minutes. Itll authenticate itself.”

Boom! That thing hits, and were sitting in the conference room.

And on videoI didnt quite realize it was audio and videoin video, its pretty powerful.

So everything shuts down.

Pretty powerful?

Locker room talk.

And so the rest of the day weve got to figure outnow, Ive got a little something.

Understanding this is the time that hes going to have Hillary Clinton on a stage with him and Bill Clinton in the audience,

what I had done is that months before, with a guy named Aaron Klein at Breitbart,

it was about filming and getting the actual women that Bill Clinton had sexually assaulted.

And even in that we had a special guest: the woman, the young woman who Hillary Clinton had

the rape victim that Hillary Clinton defended the rapist.

We had them all.

And we were supposed to get them up on Fox during that week


on Sean Hannity.

Like Id done this movie, The Hope and the Change, about Democrats who voted for Obama, or not.

We do an audience show, and he was going to have all the people up there.

We were going to show all the videos, have them cry on stage. Boom.

And for some reasonand Im not saying that its Fox senior management that thought

maybe Hillarys going to win so they didnt want to get this kind of down in the mud

And so Aaron kept filming them at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.

And so as soon as I saw that, this is now, I think, 3:00 or 4:00 on Friday afternoon,

I call Aaron, and I said, “Check and see if theyre available to come to St. Louis,” right?

And he checked and said, “Theyre alltheyd love to come to St. Louis.”

I go, “Fine.”

Aaron was going to put these things up on the Breitbart site,

the filmed interviews of these people because Fox wouldnt do it, and Drudge was going to link to it.

It was going to be up Sunday morning.

And somehow wed get them there.

So Ive got a little thing in my back pocket Im not telling anybody about.

We go in there, and itsits kind of a disaster.

Were trying to figure out whats goingwere being inundated now by the Republican Party.

So the first thing we do is, OK, Trumps going to answer this, and were going to do a video, right?

Have him answer; at least buy us some time.

Thats the thing they call the hostage video, right?

We finally get it done I think at midnight. It is a fiasco.

We have a tough time technically. He has to read it off a screen.

Hes editing the thing.

And I actually, when I look back on it, I actually think its a work of art.

Lets say this. The general journalistic community did not agree with me at the time.

Theyre going like, “Who put Trump in this little box, right, with a fake New York City background in a hostage video?”

But I think it doesthat gets us through Friday.

Next day, were going to have a high command meeting.

Wait a minute. On Friday, Ryan and allis that when Ryan runs and lots of other guys run away?

Theyre starting to run, but they dont run till Saturday morning.

Youre gettingbut listen, I can tell the dams about to break, right?

Were getting inundated, nonstop calls.

And poor Reince is sitting there.

In fact, Reince says: “Hey, Im not going to stay for the shooting of the video.

Let me get back to D.C. and calm things down.”

And I go, “Fine.”

And I said: “But you know, weve got to be back up here tomorrow because tomorrows going to be Dien Bien Phu, right?

Were nowwere going to be under siege.

So we set a meeting for 11:00 in the morning.

And by that morning its starting toI mean, were gettingCondi Rice,

everybody, theyre punching out of the ticket, theyre off this thing, out.

And Reince isI call him, and hes on the train. Fine.

We get there; its about 10 minutes to 11:00, I think it is.

No Reince.

And were going to have the meeting up in Trump Tower, OK?

And this is how serious it is.

Jared [Kushner] and Ivanka [Trump], who are very observant, you know, Jewish,

observant Jewish people who really take the Sabbath very seriously, havein all the campaign have never taken off.

They actually, that night, are around for the shooting of the video in [accordance] with their religious beliefs.

But they actually do everything and come back up the next day.

Everybodyyou know, so the whole high commands going to be there.

And theres no Reince.

And I get Reince on the phone.

I go: “Where are you? Where are you going to be?”

He says, “Im down at Penn Station, but Im going to get back on the train.”

I go, “What do you mean youre going to get back on the train?”

He says, “Look, Ive talked to the donors. Its over. I cantif I go there, Im going to get fired as RNC chair.”

And I go, “Dude, youre showing up.”

And he goes: “I cant do it, man. This things over.”

And I go: “What do you mean its over? Its not over. Were going to power through.”

He says: “Youre not going to power through. This things over.”

We get in this huge argument.

And Im pretty close to Reince.

Reince is a solid guy.

I said: “Youve got to show up here.

If you dont show up here, youre going to get torched worse than you ever think youre going to get torched by the donors.

And youre going to have to do the perp walk.

Youre going to have to come through Trump and that thing with all the TV cameras.

Youre going to have to get in the elevator bank, and youre going to have to come up and join us.” And he does.

And so we get up there, and then, you know, its Rudy [Giuliani] and Christie

and all the traditional politicians are saying its over and youve got toyou know, Trumps going around and saying,

Give me your percentage and what do I do,” and theyre all like, you know, 0%, 20%,

and they want to have him go on 60 Minutes; they want to have him

Kellyanne [Conway] comes with an idea that David Muir would come in and do a live ABC News thing,

you know, with Melania [Trump] and Ivanka.

And they're notso the whole thing is kind of a fiasco.

So he finally comes around to me.

He says, “Whats your percentage?”

And Ive told him from the day Ive taken this job on and thing:

You have 100% metaphysical certitude that you will win if you just stick to this populist nationalist message

and hang her as the representative of the elite.

We hang that around her, that she represents the elite, you represent the people, youre a populist, and we hammer it.

Youre going to win.

I dont care if youre 16 down. It doesnt matter.

The key number is 70% of the people think Americas in decline.

Youre going to return America to her former glory.”

He comes to me and says, “What do you think?”

I said, “100%.”

He goes, “100% what?”

I said: “100%, youve got this.

Its a metaphysical certitude lock.”

He goes, “Knock off with the 100%.”

He goes, “Ive got to hear your real number.”

I go, “Its 100%.”

He goesI said: “Listen, they dont care.

This is locker room talk. They dont care about vulgarity or anything like that.

They care aboutthey care about theyre losing their jobs; theyre losing their country.

They see their country going away from them.

They dont have anything to pass down to the kids. Thats what they care about.…

You know, Jared and I haveweve basically rented the Hilton Ballroom two blocks over, and at 6:00,

were going to go out at noon, were going to go out here in a half-hour and put up on your Twitter and on Facebook,

Were holding a rally for everybody who shows up in a red hat,’ and well pack it with a bunch of hammerheads,

and youre going to throw down and just go after The Washington Post and the media.

And thats how were going to power through this.

No excuses.

No, you know, just lets power through and see Hillary [unintelligible].

Lets say this. That didnt exactly get voted.

There was not a unanimous consent we should do that plan.

And we decided to compromise. …

So the compromise is David Muir and ABC.

So David Muir is like, out in the Hamptons. Theyre going to helicopter in.

ABC gets the whole crew over, 6:00.

We take a break and go down to the infamous 25th-floor conference room

where weve had all the big events in my life with Trump were there

Trump is going to take an hour, get sorted, come down,

and Christie and Rudy are going to write his preamble that hes going to be able to say on ABC.

This is 6:00 on Saturday night, live to the nation.

It will be the biggest show in history since MASH, right: Donald Trump addressing the Billy Bush tape.

And Im sitting at the end of the thing with Stephen Miller.

And watching this Im sitting there going: “Its over.

If we do this, its over.

Theres just nobodyyou cant pullthis is notyou cant pull this off.”

So Im sitting thinking, what are we going to do here?

And he gets there, and Christie and these guys, its not even typedI think its handwritten by Christie

puts it over, and Trump comes out, and Trumps in a bad mood.

The time we left him alone up in the tower had not been quality time, OK?

In what way?

I just dont know, but hes not in a good mood.

Hes in a bad mood, OK? There were a lot of people in a bad mood up there, OK?

The tapethe tape was pretty raw, right?

And now weve gotby the way, now weve got a full revolt, you know.

Pence is nowhere to be found; hes not out there sayinghe giveswe get a letter from him.

Paul Ryans out of the campaign. McConnells out.

I mean, now its a wholeits a thing thatand Reince lays up a proposal.

You know, Reincehe asks Reince, “What do you think?”

He says: “Youve got two choices.

Youre either going to lose by the biggest landslide in history, or you step down today,

and weve got a way that we can restructure the ticket that

only Colorados out of play because theyve got to mail in the ballots.

Everything else we can get changed, and we can do this.”

I go: “Are you nuts? Not going to do that.”

I told Reince later, I said: “Why did you even bring that up?

Its not going to happen, OK? Its not going to happen.

Well fight this through some other way, but that is not going to happen.

Hes not going to quit.

Just even to bring that up is absurd.”

That was the donors. … Because they thought they were going to lose the Republican Party.

They thought every woman in America will never vote for a Republican again, right, because this guys a barbarian.

Were in the conference room.

Christie gives him this thing with Rudy, and he starts reading.

Donald Trump says, he gets like two sentences in, and he goes:

This is crap. This is baby talk. Am I baby? Im not going to do this.”

He turns around to them; he goes, “Its got to be better, or Im out.”

And they go, “Well, make this change.”

He turns around to me; he goes, “This is ridiculous; Im not doing it.”

And Kellyanne goes: “Well, weve got to do it.

Theyre flyingABCs loading up; this things set up.

David Muirs helicoptering in. This things a go.”

And Trump just goes, “Im not doing it.”

And you hear fromyoure all the way up on the 25th floor in Trump Tower.

You can hear on the streets.

Trump goes, “Whats that?”

And you look down.

Theres got to be 10,000 people on Fifth Avenue.

Theyve blockedtheyve got the police on the horses.

Theyve got riot police.

You look down, and theres literally this mob down there.

And he goes: “Look, theres my people, my people. Thats where Ive got to do.”

I said, “We cant get to the Hilton; we let it go.”

He says, “Im just going to go down and talk to my people.”

And I said, “Well, you know, I dont think all of those are our people.”

Of the mob, probably 80% want Trumps head on a pike.

Theres 20% are the deplorables.

And most of them are sitting there, angry women that are sitting there wanting to tear Trump apart.

I said, “I dont know if thats exactly our crowd.”

But this is what a leader does.

He just says: “No, no, no, these are my people. Ive got to go talk to my people.”

The Secret Service says: “This is not going to happen.

Youre not going to walk out there. We have no control.”

And he just goes, “Im going.” He takes off.

And IKellyanne goes with him, and then Christie and I have a sidebar tête-à-tête off to the side.

Trump goes down.

Thats that famous picture of Trump just walks out there.

And if you listen to the crowd, you know, two-thirds of the crowd isWe hate you!,” right?

But he blocks it out.

Hes waving and everything like that and turns it into, I think, a seminal moment.

That wasthat, in that moment, he won the presidency.

And I realized all my study of military history and everything like this,

campaigns come down to one or two decisions made with imperfect information in the heat of battle and the fog of war.

One way leads you to victory, and the other way leads you to defeat.

There was 90% chance we were going the other way that day, from the night before,

from the pressure that was on him and everything like that.

And thats what a leader does.

Hes able to reach in and understand something.

And I think people misjudge this in Trump.

Hes got a natural leadership ability to basically focus and make the right decision.

That was the inflection point.

The women we got there the next day and everything like that, but it was in that moment, when he stood up and said,

Im not doing this,” andOh, you cant; ABCs here,” he looks down at the crowd, which was a hostile crowd,

but in his mind turned it intoThose are my people; Ive got to go down and address them.”

When he went down and did that thing, the whole thing kind of reverted.

And from there on in, we had to still punch it out, but it was

if it would change in that moment, if he had gone on ABC, Hillary Clinton would be president of the United States.

Weve seen the video of you lining up Paula Jones and everybody else, and you have this kind of

its a mirthful look on your face as youre going in behind the cameras as that is unfolding.

What are you thinking at that point?

So we wantedI wanted to spring the trap on these guys

because I thought in the Twitter feeds and everything like that, they were so one-sided.

So what we did, we didnt tell anybody.

It was just Jared.

I got permission from Jared the next day.

I sat with Jared and saidhe and I were kind of partners in the campaign

I said: “Look, heres how Im going to bring them, and heres what well do.

Were going to get them in a room, line them up with mics,

have Trump come down and talk to them, you know, hug them and everything like that.

And then were going to let the media know that were ending our debate prep, which technically we are,

and just let them in and spring the trap,

and hit them with a full volley of Paula Jones’ ‘He raped me,’ right, and just hit them, right?

Clintons actions versus Trumps words, and then have them at the debate, where Clintons got to walk by them.

Theyre going to be in the family section, in the VIP seats right there.

And Bill Clintons going to have to walk by them,” because these ladies are so mad,

theyre going to grab a piece of Bill Clinton on national TV and read him the riot act.

And so Trump didnt know about it; Reince didnt know about it.

And we got Hope Hicks in on the thing at the last second to get them in and everything like that.

So we walk up towere now in the presidential suite at the hotel.

Were doing some debate prep and everything like that.

Trumps off to the side.

I told Jared, “Weve got to go tell him.”

Walk up and Trump, as often would do, would kind of lean back and almost close his eyes,

and I said: “OK, heres what we got.

We got Paula Jones and all the women that Trumpthat Clinton assaulted.

Plus we got the rape victim, right?

And theyre all fired up.

Youre going to go down.

The media assumes youre in debate prep.

Youre going to spend 10 or 15 minutes with them, hear their stories, commiserate with them, talk to them.

Then youre going to sit in the middle.

Were going to open the door, and theyre going to come in, and were going to f---ing hit them, OK?”

And Im sitting there; Im making my pitch, right?

He goesI go, “What do you think?”

He goes, “I love it.”

So just Jared and I, we grab Trump and dont tell Reince or anybody, we just slip out of the room.

We got a service elevator. We go right down.

And the thing isand as soon asthats when I went over.

I had to see when we sprung the door and they alland of course, the guys that came in were the ones I detest the most;

theyre alland the doors open, and they go,

Is it appropriate to like, grab women without their permission?,” and theyre all yelling.

And they get in there, and its like, “What is this?”

And they hit a volley.

And my girl Paula Jones, the first one, “Bill Clinton raped me!,” right?

And just, boom! And they hit it.

It was perfect. And that got us momentum.

Now, what happened backstage was

remember, at the other debate, they had put Mark Cuban right down in Trumps eye line, eyesight.

And I said, “No, no, no, the deal is Cubans going to be back in the dark.…”

And the guys at the commission goes: “Well, we cant control it.

You know, we dont have security to control it.”

I go: “What do you mean? Ill get the Secret Service and take him out, but he cant be sitting right in Trumps line.

Thats not the way its going to work.”

These guys go, “Oh, no, no, no, we dont have security, and hes got to stay.”

So here I go up and tell them, I said, “Hey, heres actually the seating for the VIPs.”

And its Paula; its all of them.

And he goes, “Oh, no, no, no, thats family only.”

I said: “Its family only?

Thats interesting, because Claire McCaskill is sitting with the Clintons.

So its notits just VIPs.

These were our VIPs.

Melania and Ivanka are going to sit in the first row in back of them,” right?

And these guys go, “Uhh.”

And I said, “Yeah, and Clinton, the way we agreed on the stage thing, we walk out here, you walk out there,

and Bill Clintons going to walk right by them.”

And these guys go, “Oh, no, no, no.”

They come back and said, “If you seat them, were going to have security remove them.”

I said: “Hang on. We just had a debate two weeks ago.

You couldnt move Cuban because you dont have security.”

They go, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.”

So we had this massive fight.

And so were down now to like 90 seconds before showtime.

I go up to theto Mr. Trump, and I say: “OK, look, heres the drill.

If we force this, we can do it, but its going to cause a consternation; it may embarrass Ivanka and Melania. Your call.

We canI think weve done enough.

Theyll still be right there giving him stink eye.”

And hes rattled; you can tell Bill Clinton and the whole Clinton thing is rattled.

He goes, “Lets do it that way.”

And I go, “Fine.”

So at the last second we seat the family.

And you saw Bill Clintonthats where they had that great shot on Drudge where hes like looking

hes thinking were going to like, springboard thesebecause these women are worked up right now.

They want a piece of Bill Clinton big time.

And that energy and having Hillaryand you could tell Clinton, she was off her game that night.

We had rattled them.

And so I think that gave us the velocity.

That gave us the muzzle velocity to kind of drive home in the last, you know, four or five weeks of the campaign.

So he wins.

Well, wellthat ground has been covered.

Well, one part maybe hasnt.

We saywins.”

Im the 100% metaphysical certitude.

And we get thewe get thewe get the exit polls at 5:00.

The exit polls at 5:00 arewere tied in Iowa and Ohio, that I had us up like three or five points. Tied.

Were losing everywhere else, including blown out in Pennsylvania, blown out in Florida.

This is like aI forget the total number.

I think it was like a 350-electoral vote, 400-electoral vote. This is a landslide.

We are blown out. I mean, it is a catastrophe.

And Im sitting there.

We step on the balcony. And its so bad that Jared and Inobody should see these.

And we look at them, and I go: “We cant be that far off. Weve got this thing.

Were over top of Wisconsin. I mean, were competitive in Pennsylvania. It cant be this bad.”

And he goesJared says, “Hang on one second.”

He calls Drudge, and Drudge goes: “F--- these things.

This is all corporate media.

This is all f---ed up. Theyre lying.”

So I feel better.

And we call Trump, and Trump goes: “Hey, we left it all in the field. Nothing else we could have done.”

And we decided that since itswe get the kids, and we got Don Jr. and some others get on talk radio,

The Mark Levin Show, and, hey, weve got toand it was a big lesson.

We heard almost instantaneously, people came to us and said the newsrooms, you know,

were high-fiving and people were laughing.

This is Trump.

Not just a defeat.

This is going to beto crush this thing, right?

All this disruption and all Trumps stuff and all these kind of guys in red hats, its over.

And it was a huge lesson for me, because it started to play out exactly like

the only thing that concerned me is the Detroit Free Press called, I think it was 8:00 or 9:00,

right out of the box, they called Michigan for Hillary Clinton.

And they areyou know, in 150 years, I dont think theyve ever been wrong.

Theyreits not like some broadcast TV thing thats gotthey weretheyre on it.

And I go, man, I said, thatsbecause I think were going to win Michigan.

Michigan, I gotyou know, we got this.

And I think it was around midnight.

It was right after Ohio and a couple of others came in.

We had like five states that hadnt been called at midnight for the first time in their history.

The Detroit Free Press reversed it and said too close to call.

And thats when I said, “Trumps president of the United States.”

Did he think he was going to lose?


Hes sohes competitive.

Not that he was going to lose.

He was so competitive.

But of course, the drumbeatyouve got to remember, every day on Morning Joe, every day in The New York Times,

were the island of misfit toys, were thebecause Id never been in a campaign headquarters in my life.

You know, Kellyanne had never run a campaign. Shes a pollster, right?

Were just this group ofits a grab bag of people.

Now we could see, particularly in these kind of working-class districts,

thats why we kept going back to Wisconsin; thats why we kept going to Michigan.

Remember, in Wisconsin, Paul Ryan wouldnt campaign with us on that Sunday because he says were going to lose;

I cant take two national defeats.

And we dont go to Wisconsin because Ryan wont be on the stage with us

The key thing is that the algofirst off, two things.

Number one, theres a lot of people that vote for Trump that will never admit to voting for Trump.

Thats one of the reasons the exit polls were wrong, is that they wont admit it even if they voted for him.

The other one was algorithm of the Detroit Free Press was at from the urban areas

that they extrapolated out the algorithms of the rural areas,

and thats where Trump overperformed, in kind of small-town America, right?

He overperformed where we had kind of focused.

And so those two things had thehad the exit polls wrong,

and that led to this [massive] surprise where the whole media was so joyous at the beginning of the night,

and then starting at like 9:00 or 10:00, you could tell that this thing was going in thethis thing was going in our direction.

Lets go the inauguration, what a lot of people call theAmerican carnagespeech.

Did you write that speech?

No, the president wrote it, but Miller and I hadthe inauguration speech was theit was

there were two speeches that week, that people dont focus on the other.

There was President Xi goes to Davos on Tuesday, I think, and gives a speech on globalization.

And Trumps speech on Friday, its called theAmerican carnagespeech.

You know, maybe we should have realized in writing it that that would be the takeaway line, but the takeaway line

and I dont want this to sound too high-falutin’, but it was structured a little bit on Lincolns second inaugural.

Lincoln goes back through all the causes of the war, right?

He talks about his previous thing and what had happening in the country,

and then he ends with this very powerful phrase, “And then war came.”

And he stops, pauses, and then he does the rest of the speech.

Our whole thing was to build up with the president about how the elites had not taken action, that the country got in this thing.

And the punch line was, “Now comes the hour of action.”

Boom, you lead down to that, hit with thehour of action,” and then Trump talks about what hes going to do.

Obviously, we had theAmerican carnageline in there.

But it was really, if you look at the two speeches in hindsight, its really two

its one is pitching kind of this globalized, globalist system

where you have a center of power that happens to be in China in administrative units throughout the world.

And Xis speech is very particular of that the problem in the world today is caused by populism;

its called by nationalism; its called by this.

Trumps is a defense of essentially the Westphalian system.

It is a defense of the nation-state as the unit of government, as the unit of how were going to govern us,

govern ourselves with the citizen, a free citizen, as the basic unit of that.

And so that speech, which Trumps works on intensely in Mar-a-Lago

and this one, because Trump would not practice the rally speeches.

Wed have it up there, and he would go off script.

Here he practiced over and over again, including the night after all the balls and everything.

Stephen and I were cleaning it up; we had the exact same

because wed been on the stage to make sure everything was perfect.

We went back to Blair House, and we actually had the exact podium in Blair House in one of the old libraries there.

The president came back at like midnight and practiced a couple more times.

So he washe was very bought into this thing and kind of owned that speech,

which I think is still one of the most powerful speeches.

He conceived this thing.

I remember in Mar-a-Lago, hes working on the linesWe will form new alliances and create new ones,”

orexcuse me—“We will form new alliances and rejuvenate old ones.

And we will unite the civilized world to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth.”

And at the time I kind of said, “Hey, thats a big check youre going to have to cash.”

But this was his focus on the destruction of the physical caliphate of ISIS to start off with, and he wanted that in there.