Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist for President Donald Trump, spoke with Brian Kilmeade about his greatest concern being us taking our eye off the ball with China. Bannon says we have been at economic war with China for 20 years and any deal with China must not allow the Chinese to renege on any agreement as they have done with the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations. Bannon also has believes former Vice President Joe Biden is quasi-compromised on China because of his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings along with Biden saying China is not a competitor to America.
While discussing Iran and President Trump sending an aircraft carrier group to the Middle East, Bannon believes the sanctions are working on Iran and believes we are stretched too thin militarily, therefore, we should prioritize the Chinese situation and North Korea.
When asked if Robert Mueller should testify before the House Judiciary Committee, Bannon said Mueller should testify because it works against Democrats politically.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX RADIO HOST: Joining us now, Steve Bannon, former White House strategist for President Donald Trump.
The man who helped the president get in to the White House to begin with. Steve, you write about this Chinese deal today. Thanks so much or joining us. What’s your greatest concern going forward?
STEPHEN BANNON, FORMER W.H. CHIEF STRATEGIST: Well, the greatest concern is that we take our eye off the ball. Look, this is not about — this is not a simple trade deal, this is really about economic war. The Chinese communist party has been running on the United States of America for 20-25 years.
Donald Trump’s been on this even as a private citizen. It’s the central reason he’s president of the United States. The manage decline of our elites represented by Hilary Clinton particularly in the upper Midwest led to Trump’s victory.
And the problem we’ve got here is that that the Chinese system is so radically different than ours. They’ve been ripping us off, forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft, subsidies estate on industries.
This thing is — it’s out of control from the Chinese point of view and it’s got to be stopped. It has to be stopped. Trump, that’s why this trade negotiation’s so tough. And what did China — what they’ve done to every administration, to Clinton, to Bush and Obama is to get a deal and then to renege on it.
And they tried to re-trade Trump last week and Trump said no way. I’m going to up these tariffs. I believe he’s actually going to go 25 percent across the board on all $500 billion of trade we do with China. So, I think you have — I think there’s much more to come on this.
KILMEADE: And the thing is Wall Street didn’t like in the beginning of the day, it doesn’t like it today but they rally at the end of the day. And with these numbers, Steve, what does it do for the president’s hand when he sees the strong economic numbers in almost every aspect out of this economy?
BANNON: Well see Brian, here’s the thing Wall Street doesn’t want to talk about. The miss that Wall Street had on the economic growth number of ten days ago, the 3.2 percent versus the 2.2, that 1 percent or 33 percent uptick was totally tied to bringing down the trade deficit with China.
Import prices are falling. All of this nonsense you’re hearing about these tariffs, complete just spin from Wall Street. OK? And that’s why the market’s been relatively sharp. Because Trump is bringing manufacturing jobs and the supply chain back to the industrial democracies.
Japan, North America and Western Europe, that’s why this economy’s on fire right now. Trump’s (inaudible) policy has been absolutely correct. The cheerleaders on Wall Street that really are the fence department for the Chinese communist party has been telling Trump that this is going to be an economic disaster.
They’re wrong. They’re just dead wrong. Trump is right on this and I think he understands now he’s got the (inaudible) to his back and he’s sitting there saying hey, these guys are trying to re-trade us on the structural changes that need to be made.
They’re trying to renege on it. And Trump I think is saying that’s not going to happen on my watch.
KILMEADE: You have a military background as well as a Wall Street background as well as being a political strategist. So, let’s talk about to the lament listening right now, people are saying wait a second, Wall Street, Wall Street and China on the same side? What do you mean by that?
BANNON: Wall Street’s been financing the Chinese — Wall Street has financed — by the way, not just Wall Street but they have used the working class and the deplorable pension money. It’s the pension funds that give it to the money managers give it to the hedge funds; give it to the investment banks to be managed.
It is pension fund money, it’s the working class of the United States, the firemen, the teachers, it’s that money that is financed. All of the factories going to China, all this industrial build up if corporate America where all he factories get shipped to China and the opioids came to the heartland of this country that is all financed by Wall Street.
Wall Street in the city of London finances the Chinese communist party. Finance China. All the jobs that went over, so that’s why people are sitting there going that’s why Wall Street’s a big — they’re a cheerleader for this. They’ve been sending all the – you got to do a deal. You got to have $2 trillion of soybeans. Forget the structural changes.” They have been relentless in telling Trump, “You don’t have to go too deep into this. Just let’s get a trade deal. Let’s have them buy more soybeans, more pork bellies and everything will be fine. If you don’t, the stock market is going to collapse.”
BANNON: And what Trump is saying, “No, I’m bringing manufacturing jobs back. I promised that to the American people and I’m going to do it.”
KILMEADE: And you know that’s what’s going to happen. A couple of things. You write about this and you break it down to different numbers of understanding. One of which you say anything less than a great deal will subject the president to relentless criticism from Schumer and Sanders and even republicans like Cruz and Rubio. I am heartened and I know you are much more cynical than I am, but I’m heartened that Schumer has been nothing but supportive in being tough against China so far because China takes it as a signal of strength for the president.
BANNON: Yes, on one level, look Schumer is an old school democrat. Remember the labor union guy is the Robert Cutner(ph), they support us. They’ve been hawks on China, OK? However the Schumer – the Schumer tweet the other day, I am cynical. It does show support. He said, “Hang tough. We’ve got your back. You got to stand tall in China.” But he’s going to be the first to criticize President Trump if President Trump tries to compromise at all. He’ll be the first one in there. Bernie Sanders got to the right of Trump the other day where he accused Trump of not designating China, a currency manipulator, on day one. We did kind of commit to that and it was Steven Mnuchin and the treasury guys and the Wall Street guys that talked the president out of it. The president said, “OK, I want to do this but since we have this trade negotiation, I’ll hold off on it.”
Bernie Sanders threw down the other day. The democrats understand they have – they’re going to try to get to the right of Trump and one of the reasons is Joe Biden is pathetic on this. Biden, I think, is quasi-compromised on this. His son – he took his son over in 2013 on an official trip on Air Force 2. The son hung around the leaders of the CCP, stayed and closed a deal as Peter Schweizer showed in his book, “Secret Empires” took $1.5 billion in cash from the Bank of China to fund his private equity fund then his private equity fund started buying and investing in Chinese surveillance companies that have this horrific surveillance on the Uyghurs, the Christians, the Catholics and the citizens of China.
So Biden is up to his neck – he said it the other day. China is not a competitor. Why do you say China is a competitor? So I think you’re seeing a certain guise in the democratic party getting to the right of Biden and trying to get to the right of Trump.
KILMEADE: I’ve never actually heard a modern politician make a statement like that on China and Biden said it and Biden says it and even his own party started condemning him but it’s a guy that’s so out of touch, he’s – Hunter Biden is also in trouble when it comes to the Ukraine as well.
BANNON: The Ukraine, I think look, Hunter Biden is up to his neck in corruption. This is the permanent(ph) political class is partner in this too is John Kerry’s step son, Teresa Heinz’ son, this is the permanent political class in action where foreign governments finance their private equity funds. The China things stink to high heaven. They’re trying to suppress it; they don’t want people talking about it. But Biden, the other day, I honestly think and I think the democratic primary is going to take care of this. To me, it just qualifies him as a serious candidate.
You cannot be running to try to be Commander in Chief, President of the United States, one of the greatest geostrategic threats we’ve ever faced is China and you have, you know it’s so many different people from different parties working on this topic right now. For a guy to sit there and go they’re not a competitor is like what reality. And here’s the thing, Biden was there for eight years of Obama when they looked the other way. Remember, these islands are in the South China Sea which are stationary aircraft carriers that we just sent two destroyers by the other day are a ticking time bomb. People actually think when Obama and Biden allowed those to be built and didn’t do anything about it, the people in Asia will tell you that that is America’s Munich of the 21st Century, that that’s going to come back to haunt us.
As a young Naval officer, I was in the Pacific fleet, we used to (inaudible) in the South China Sea all the time in the ’70s and ’80s, total free navigation by the seventh fleet. That — you don’t have that today and one of the reasons, what happened on Joe Biden’s watch when he was there with Obama.
KILMEADE: We’re talking with Steve Bannon now. Steve, I get it. I think the president gets it. I think he’s standing strong. He’s staring down the market and then Robert Lighthizer backed up the fact that they’re reneging on most of their pledges.
So, we’ll see where this goes. I want to move on and use your expertise in other areas. We have the USS Abraham Lincoln steaming towards the Persian Gulf right now. It seems we have intelligence from the Israelis and others that the Iranians are looking for — to hit back at us for the sanctions and declaring the Republican Guard a terrorist group.
What do you think the Iranians will try to do? How desperate, if at all, are they?
BANNON: Well look, I’m a huge believer of President Trump’s America First foreign policy. I think this thing is winning. I think he’s got his focus on the right elements. I’m also somebody that doesn’t like, you know, to — this being in interventions, what happened in Latin America the other day and in Iran.
As a young naval officer in 1979 I spent six months off of a Iran in a carrier battle group on Gonzo and Camel Station. It’s a big deal when the United States has a carrier battle group up there, that’s a signal. And I think people have to be — really think this thing through, right? The sanctions are working against Iran, designating the group as a terrorist group is something we started working on day one, the Muslim brotherhood should be right in there.
However, when you start sending — when you start sending a signal like this, you’ve got to be prepared to do something, you’ve got to back it up. And my fear right now, not just — not just with the election of 2020, but also for the country, we’re spread thin and we’ve got to focus. You have to focus and you have to prioritize.
The Chinese situation and Korea is a subset of that in the South China Sea, to me is the most vital issue we’re working on right now. You’ve got to understand in Venezuela and places like Iran, you can’t spread yourself too thin and you particularly can’t spread yourself too thin in personnel.
It’s pretty thinly staffed right now, I think both in the White House, State Department, the Department of Defense, and I’m just giving a perspective of a kid — a guy that was 23, 24 years old that was on a — in a — on a destroyer in a battle group off of Iran.
When you send the United States Navy up there, you’re sending a message. And part of the message is, hey, we’re here. And if anything goes wrong we’re going to hit. And I don’t know if they country is there yet.
I don’t know if it needs to be viewed (ph) strategically. So, would advise both in Venezuela, in Iran, to calm down, take a deep breath and let’s think this thing through and let’s particularly take it through for the long game.
KILMEADE: Steve, rapid fire, real quick. Would you allow Robert Mueller, unless he quits as Special Counsel, he can do it himself, would you allow Robert Mueller to go back up on May 15th and speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee?
BANNON: Look, I think it’s a — nonsense this thing is still going on. It’s a total Russia hoax, but the president did more — he’s cooperated more, he set — look, he waived his executive privilege, he sent us all up there. I don’t think Mueller would have anything particularly special to say, I think it’s all in the report.
I wouldn’t have a problem if somebody was ordered to go up there and testify to Mueller. I can see the president saying, enough is enough. I certainly think it’s enough’s enough. It’s a hoax that the Democrats just keep beating a dead horse, but I think it works against them politically.
I think the American people are fed up with it. I think the American people realize that we live in a very dangerous world, that the president’s got an economy that’s on fire in very dangerous times, that’s what they want to focus on. Jobs, their family, safety and security of the United States of America and it’s allies.
If the Democrats want to beat a dead horse, I kind of say, do it, because the president has …
KILMEADE: Let them go (ph).
BANNON: … gone out of his way. Look, I advised him he went too far out of his way, but he went out of his way to have full disclosure. I would have a problem with it, but I can understand why he and Barr would have shut it down.
KILMEADE: All right, Steve, I know you’re a real busy guy. I know you’re going overseas, I won’t tell exactly where, but you’re going to another country over in Europe. I hope this is not going to be the last time you join us, we need your insight.
BANNON: Thanks brother, appreciate you having me on.
KILMEADE: All right, Steve Bannon, thanks so much.