Steve Bannon has been recommending books about nationalism to colleagues and considered hiring someone to monitor nationalist movements around the world as his boss signs executive orders to ban refugees and cut regulations.
Donald Trump’s chief strategist has been described as a voracious reader, and the books tend to share a similar argument: that Western civilization is being destroyed and only a shock to the system can reverse its decline.
He also strongly believes in a theory, espoused in one of his favourite books, The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe, that history unfolds in cycles of 80 to 100 years.
At the end of the cycle, the old order is destroyed and replaced.
In Mr Bannon’s view, the next cycle was sparked by the financial crisis and gave rise to the election of Mr Trump. His 2015 documentary, Generation Zero, drew heavily on this theory.
Lacy MacAuley, an activist and member of the Washington DC Antifascist Coalition, told The Independent: "I absolutely think Steve Bannon is connected to a network of white nationalists. Just in the last few years there have been contractual obligations between white supremacist James O’Keefe at Project Veritas and Breitbart."
Mr O'Keefe was known, she said, for taking down institutions and organisations via fake news.
"I would say that Steve Bannon is the advocate for white nationalism in the White House and there’s no doubt in my mind on that. It’s not just through Breitbart, it’s through his entire line of work."
Mr Bannon recruited from this pool to fill out the National Security Council. He reportedly added himself to the NSC without Mr Trump knowing as he drafted the executive order himself.
Daryle Lamont Jenkins, executive director of the anti-racist organisation One People's Project, told The Independent, said that paleoconservatives attempt to use theories and academia to justify their racism. Mr Bannon went to Harvard, and Jared Taylor, a prominent white supremacist, went to Yale.
"We've been dealing with a cluster of white supremacists within the beltway of the Washington DC area who do just that: they try to back up their racism and justify why they should have a separation of the races, and justify a more strident attack on African Americans in the name of 'fighting crime'," he said.
In Mr Bannon's network is Curtis Yarvin, known as "Mencius Moldbug", who gathered a global following after writing in his blog in 2008 that "nonsense is a more effective organising tool than the truth."
He also asked “What’s so bad about the Nazis?” and wrote about how he "stopped believing in democracy".
"Moldbug" was escorted out of a computer software conference where he was scheduled to speak due to his blog posts and Breitbart covered the incident as "censorship". Now "Moldbug" has a line to the White House, through an intermediary, and was deeply sceptical that the Russians were behind the "influence campaign" during the election, as reported by Politico.
Michael Anton, a former managing director for investment firm BlackRock, also sits on the NSC. He was a former speech writer for Rudy Giuliani and George W Bush's NSC. He wrote a post called "The Flight 93 Election", under the pseudonym Publius Decius Mus in September 2016, that said "America and the West are on a trajectory toward something very bad."
He argued that electing Mr Trump was simply worth trying, rather than elect another member of the “bipartisan junta” and the end of civilization.
"2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die," he said.
"You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees."
Mr Bannon was reportedly the architect behind the Muslim ban, including barring visa and green card holders.
When far right French politician Marine Le Pen came to visit Mr Trump in the White House, he had invited her. The ultra-conservative website that he founded, Breitbart, covered her career extensively.
He boasted last July that Breitbart had become the "platform for the alt-right". Now his platform has become the government.Reuse content