Steve Bannon privately slammed the selection of Mike Pence as Donald Trump’s running mate a month before taking over the Trump campaign, according to emails obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The email exchange during Bannon’s first stint as executive chairman of Breitbart is of new relevance as Bannon — two months removed from his role as President Trump’s chief strategist — rolls out his plan for a wide-ranging attack against establishment Republicans in 2018. And it reveals that Bannon regarded the Pence pick as something of a deal with the devil necessary to bolster Trump’s standing in the GOP.
On July 15, 2016, the day the Trump campaign announced that it had selected Pence, Breitbart’s former technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos wrote to Bannon and Breitbart editor Alex Marlow.
“Seems like a bad pick. Should I tweet something ambivalent about him? People are telling me Trump likely didn’t want this. …What’s our party line on this?”
“This is the price we pay for cruzbots and #nevertrump movement,” Bannon responded. “An unfortunate necessity…very. feel free to do whatever u want. we, as always, will remain above it all.”
And two days later, Bannon signed off on a Yiannopoulos column trolling the socially conservative Pence by asking him to attend a “big gay party for Trump.” (Yiannopoulos is gay.)
“I’m cool,” Bannon wrote of the story.
“It’s a little mocking but we want to turn the screw,” Yiannopoulos replied.
A spokesperson for Bannon did not respond to a request for comment.
A White House spokesperson for Pence and an outside political adviser both declined to comment when asked about the emails and about the vice president’s relationship with Bannon.