Steve Bannon has broken his silence on last weekend's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, describing the participants as "a collection of clowns."
In an interview published Wednesday with The American Prospect, a publication whose goal is to "advance liberal and progressive goals," the White House chief strategist dismissed the far-right as irrelevant and downplayed his role in its development.
"Ethno-nationalism -— it's losers," he said. "It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more ... These guys are a collection of clowns."
While talking about the far-right, Bannon took the opportunity to slam the Democrats' fondness for tackling "identity politics."
"The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em," Bannon said. "I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats."
In the interview, Bannon also seemed to counter President Trump's incendiary comments about unleashing "fire and fury" upon North Korea if the rogue nation continues to threaten the U.S.
"There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it," he said. "Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us."
Bannon did have harsh words for China, which he says is at war with the U.S. -- economically, that is. He added that the U.S. is at risk of losing its economic superpower status to the world's most populous country.
"We're at economic war with China," Bannon said. "It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path. On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow."
He continued, "To me, the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we're five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we'll never be able to recover."
Bannon's plan to counter China's increasingly strong economic influence is to file a complaint under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act against Chinese coercion of technology transfers from American corporations doing business there, and follow-up complaints against steel and aluminum dumping. "We’re going to run the tables on these guys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us.”