Former McConnell aide defends labeling Bannon a ‘white supremacist’

Former McConnell aide defends labeling Bannon a ‘white supremacist’
© Greg Nash

A former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Fireworks on health care expected at Dem debate | Trump FDA pick dodges on vaping ban | Trump to host meeting on youth vaping Friday | AMA calls for immediate vaping ban GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE (R-Ky.) in a new interview defended his use of the term "white supremacist" to describe former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

“If you look at his associations, the people who are ecstatic about his efforts, the long history of conduct that he has been a part of, I will let others come to their conclusions,” Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to McConnell, told The Washington Post.

“But this is not a guy that just burst on the scene. Let’s not act like everybody doesn’t know exactly who Steve Bannon is."

Holmes also said Bannon cared more about "seeing his name in the headlines" than the president's accomplishments.

“It comes at great cost to the president’s term, the Republican Party and any hope they can have at working as a team," he said.

Holmes last week used the phrase to refer to Bannon in an interview with The Hill, saying: “When you’re facing voters, I’d take one of the most successful majority leaders in history over a white supremacist any day.”

Andy Surabian, a senior adviser to the Great America Alliance super PAC and Bannon’s former deputy at the White House, shot down the attacks.

"Do we need any further evidence that Mitch McConnell and his cronies are melting down than them reducing themselves to using left-wing talking points to attack Steve? It’s pathetic to watch," he told The Washington Post.

"Every poll shows Mitch McConnell is an albatross on the Republican candidates. If McConnell truly cared about our Republican majority in the Senate more than he cares about his own power, then he would step down as Senate majority leader today.”

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Bannon earlier this month promised to wage "war" on the Republican establishment.

He has vowed to recruit primary challengers for Republicans who don't support Trump's agenda.

After Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ariz.) announced he would retire at the end of his term, Bannon took a victory lap, claiming credit for Flake's decision not to seek reelection.

Allies of McConnell are doubling down on their battle against Bannon, highlighting past charges of anti-Semitism that were leveled against the Breitbart News head during a nasty legal battle over his divorce.

- Updated at 9:39 a.m.