Steve Bannon: Catholic Church needs 'illegal aliens' to fill its US churches, says former Trump adviser

He also said the portrayal of him as a 'street fighter' was correct

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Thursday 07 September 2017 13:48
Steve Bannon says Catholic churches ‘need illegal aliens’

Donald Trump’s former chief strategist has launched a scathing attack on the Catholic church’s stance on immigration - claiming “they need illegal aliens to fill the churches”.

In his first extensive interview since he was fired last month, Mr Bannon also said the media’s portrayal of him as a “street fighter” was correct.

“I think that’s why Donald Trump and I get along so well. Donald Trump’s a fighter. Great counter puncher,” he said. “Great counter puncher. He’s a fighter...I’m going to be his wing man outside for the entire time, to protect.”

Mr Bannon, who is from a Catholic family and attended a Catholic preparatory school in Virginia, made the comments amid the ongoing controversy over Mr Trump’s announcement that he was scrapping a programme that had permitted up to 800,000 children and young people to remain in the US.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) scheme was introduced in 2012 by Barack Obama and provided those eligible for it, protection from the threat of deportation.

Mr Trump’s decision to terminate the scheme was widely criticised. Among those to voice criticism was Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archbishop of New York.

Breitbart's senior-editor-at-large Joel Pollak: With Bannon gone, Trump's presidency could fail

In an interview with SiriusXM, Mr Dolan said while protecting the US’s borders was “essential”, penalising undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children - the so-called dreamers whom the scheme was supposed to help - was not something Christians should stand for.

“It’s certainly not Christian, and I would contend it’s not American,” he said.

Mr Bannon responded in an interview with broadcaster Charlie Rose, which is due to be aired in full over the weekend by CBS but parts of which have been released in advance. In the interview, Mr Bannon said the Catholic Church has been “terrible about” immigration.

“You know why? Because [they have been] unable to really, to come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens. They need illegal aliens to fill the churches. It’s obvious on the face of it,” Mr Bannon said.

“I totally respect the Pope, and I totally respect the Catholic bishops and cardinals on doctrine. This is not about doctrine. This is about sovereignty of a nation. And in that regard, they’re just another guy with an opinion.”

In the interview, Mr Bannon, who has since returned to the right-wing Breitbart News after leaving the White House, said he would continue to support Mr Trump from outside the West Wing.

He said his role would be to “make sure his enemies know that there’s no free shot on goal”.

The former chief strategist also defended Mr Trump’s response after the neo-Nazi-led violence in Charlottesville that left one young woman dead.

“What he was trying to say is that people that support the monument staying there peacefully and people that oppose that, that's the normal course of - of First Amendment. But he’s talking about the Neo-Nazis and Neo-Confederates and the Klan, who, by the way, are absolutely awful - there’s no room in American politics for that,” he said.

“There’s no room in American society for that….And all Donald Trump was saying is, ‘Where does it end? Does it end in taking down the Washington Monument? Does it end in taking down Mount Rushmore’.”

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