By BETSY WOODRUFF – – – – – – – –
Donald Trump’s new campaign boss—the guy white supremacists are so excited about—once described D.C.’s top Republicans as “cunts.”
Stephen Bannon, the Trump campaign’s new chief executive as of Wednesday, used the phrase two years ago in emails with Breitbart reporter Matt Boyle. Bannon ran Breitbart at the time, and the two schemed about how to get activists to “turn on the hate” as part of a plan to “burn this bitch down.” The emails, obtained by The Daily Beast, are just another reminder that the Trump campaign’s new management is unlikely to play nice with party leaders.
The exchange was on December 16, 2014. In it, Bannon flagged a Roll Call story about a private meeting Rep. Jason Chaffetz held for about a dozen Capitol Hill reporters. Chaffetz was about to become chairman of the powerful Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and the meeting previewed his plans for the committee.
“Were we invited to this?” Bannon emailed.
Matt Boyle, then a Breitbart reporter and now its Washington Political Editor, replied that he wasn’t.
“To be honest, completely between us, I think Chaffetz is a sniveling little shit and deserves to have his ass kicked in the conservative media,” Boyle continued. “This is something that leads me very heavily in that direction.”
In another email, Boyle went into more detail.
“Again I didn’t get an invite but not sure if they maybe gave one to someone else here or something,” he wrote. “BTW— as for lighting people up in the next few weeks//months we need to be smart about it all. Let’s play the game with brains here, we can’t just kill them all. Let me get some feelers out for how the new congress is gonna work before we annihilate everyone.”
Bannon pushed for a more scorched-earth approach.
“Leadership are all cunts,” he wrote. “We should just go buck wild.”
Then he wrote, “Let the grassroots turn on the hate because that’s the ONLY thing that will make them do their duty.”
“You know I agree,” he replied. “Let’s just not hurt ourselves in the process. If we’re gonna burn this bitch down, to quote the great Louis Head, we need to make sure the fire doesn’t burn us in the process. I’m working on plans with people right now to make it happen.”
Bannon and Boyle didn’t return requests for comment on the exchange. Chaffetz’s office didn’t comment either.
But Bannon’s slash-and-burn tendencies might not serve him as well in his new role.
Republican leadership hasn’t changed much since December of 2014, except that Paul Ryan has taken John Boehner’s spot as Speaker of the House. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers were and still are the House’s top Republicans. And Mitch McConnell is still the top Republican in the Senate.
And he seems to despise the newest member of House Republican Leadership, Paul Ryan. In fact, Bannon basically endorsed Ryan’s unsuccessful primary challenger, a businessman named Paul Nehlen who floated the idea of deporting all Muslims from the U.S.
Republican leaders are not the only people Bannon has designated as cunts. He also used the term to refer to Michelle Fields, one of his former employees—and not just any old “cunt,” but a “fucking cunt.”
Despite Bannon’s comfort with obscenity, his website published a storycriticizing Clinton spokesperson Jess McIntosh for frequently saying “fuck” on Twitter.
A senior Republican Senate staffer said he found the emails amusing.
“I don’t know what’s dumber: the fact that they thought they could do this effectively, or that they were discussing it via email,” he said. “Does Matt Boyle and Steve Bannon not own phones? You’d expect these kind of antics from the wet bandits in Home Alone.”