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 McConnellObama: Filibuster makes it 'almost impossible' to govern Ethics panel calls on House, Senate leaders to act on anti-sexual harassment bill Don’t fret the lame duck 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 FlakePoll: Trump easily defeats potential GOP rivals in hypothetical primary matchups A primary challenger would weaken Trump in general election, says polling editor Trump 'unlikely' to face primary challenger, says pollster 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.