Donald Trump’s elevation of Breitbart News CEO Stephen Bannon to chief White House strategist is prompting many to ominously predict the Trump presidency will be like the worst of the campaign. But there’s an even more disturbing power play in the works.
Before Bannon turned “Breitbart News into Trump Pravda,” as one ex-Breitbart writer put it, Bannon backed 2016’s darkest ideologue, Republican Ted Cruz. Bannon went all-in for Cruz, not just because of his libertarian economics, but because his patron and ally, the family of hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, enlisted him and other Mercer-funded political assets for Cruz.
“Breitbart News was cranking out a stream of favorable Cruz stories,” Politico recounted in September. “And both the Mercer-backed pro-Cruz super PAC, ‘Keep the Promise I,’ and the Cruz campaign signed up Cambridge Analytica [Mercer’s data research firm]. And only hours after the Texas senator officially launched his campaign at the Christian university Liberty University, he and his wife appeared at [daughter] Bekah Mercer’s extravagant Upper West Side apartment for a fundraiser.”