Steve Bannon: 'President Trump is not a racist'

Former White House chief strategist Steven Bannon said in an interview that aired Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE is not a racist and blamed the "radical left" for divisions in the U.S.

He said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York that people who do not support Trump's policies "realize that they can't defeat him on the policies so they're going to smear him as being a racist, a white supremacist, all of this stuff, and I don't think any of it holds water."

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"President Trump is not a racist, he's not a white supremacist, he's someone who has put a series of policies in that really have helped not just everybody, but have really helped the African American and Hispanic community," Bannon continued. "These divisions are being sown by the radical left."

Bannon's comments follow a mass shooting last weekend in which a man who killed 22 people is also accused of posting a manifesto online warning of a "Hispanic invasion." 

The incident brought renewed scrutiny to Trump's rhetoric on immigration. Some presidential candidates including Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Warren offers plan to repeal 1994 crime law authored by Biden Panel: Jill Biden's campaign message MORE (D-Mass.) and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) have called the president a white supremacist in the wake of the shooting. 

Bannon and Trump had a public falling out in January 2018 after Bannon criticized the president and his family in Michael Wolff's book "Fire and Fury." Bannon has also served as a former editor of the far-right news outlet Breitbart.