Trump’s former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon recently made an appearance on the popular CBS special 60 minutes. If you’re familiar with him and his views on issues like immigration many of his comments may have come as no surprise. One comment, though, took Indian Country by surprise.
When speaking on the issue of immigration the interviewer, Charlie Rose, brought up the fact that unless you’re Native American your ancestors were immigrants.
The statement seemed to unhinge an anger in Bannon.
That’s simply “leftist” propaganda.
The official transcript from CBS spells it out for us.
STEVE BANNON: You couldn't be more dead wrong. America was built on her citizens.
CHARLIE ROSE: We're all immigrants.
STEVE BANNON: America was built on her–
CHARLIE ROSE: Except the Native Americans–
STEVE BANNON: –don't– don't g– don't– don't–
CHARLIE ROSE: –who were here.
STEVE BANNON: –don't– don't give me– this is the thing of the leftists. Charlie, that's beneath you. America's built on our sys– on our citizens. Look at the 19th century. What built America's called the American system, from Hamilton to Polk to Henry Clay to Lincoln to the Roosevelts. A system of protection of our manufacturing, financial system that lends to manufacturers, OK, and the control of our borders. Economic nationalism is what this country was built on. The American system. Right? We go back to that. We look after our own. We look after our citizen, we look after our manufacturing base, and guess what? This country's gonna be greater, more united, more powerful than it's ever been. And it's not– this is not astrophysics. OK? And by the way, that's every nationality, every race, every religion, every sexual preference. As long as you're a citizen of our country. As long as you're an American citizen, you're part of this populist, economic nationalist movement.
His statements unsettled many, including the National Congress of American Indians which sent out a public statement to TheWrap schooling Bannon, who people felt was qualified to help lead the country, on America’s history.
“ ‘America,’ a term Mr. Bannon uses to refer to the United States of America, owes its founding, its place, and its very survival to the original, Indigenous inhabitants of this land – the First Americans. America as a democratic society and government was modeled after the Great Law of Peace, the oral constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy. America grew to its present size and strength by dispossessing Native peoples of their lands and resources against their will.”
The statement ended with a bang.
“The truth is that we were peoples long before ‘We the People’ — certainly long before the term ‘leftist’ was even coined — and we remain vibrant peoples to this day, peoples who contribute immensely to making this country great.”
What are your thoughts on Bannon’s knowledge of American history?