How did Steve Bannon meet Donald Trump

"Blocher was Trump before Trump"

Steve Bannon made his first public appearance in Europe in Zurich. He described Switzerland as a country of origin of the populist revolt.

US President Donald Trump has long since banned Steve Bannon from his world. At the “Weltwoche”, however, the former chief strategist of the White House is warmly welcome. In the weekly magazine of SVP National Councilor Roger Köppel, Bannon was allowed to spread his ideas about the necessity of populist revolts in large interviews. And on Tuesday evening, Köppel in Zurich offered him the stage for his first public appearance in Europe.

The 64-year-old ex-top Trump advisor met an audience that was well-disposed towards him and repeatedly applauded him. Bannon also said many things that the “Weltwoche” audience liked to hear. He railed against the political establishment and the global elite, or against overly generous immigration policies and the mainstream media. Last but not least, Bannon praised direct democracy in Switzerland and above all the Swiss vote against the EEA in 1992. He mentioned Christoph Blocher, who was one of the very first politicians to fight against the political establishment and for the sovereignty of his country. "Blocher was Trump before Trump," said Bannon. The EEA No is a good example of the populist revolt.

Video - Critical conclusion of the audience

Not everyone was enthusiastic about Bannon's performance. Video: SDA / Tamedia

"If Brussels doesn't change dramatically, the EU will soon no longer exist"

In an entertaining political tour'd'horizon, including swipes at political opponents such as the “corrupt Clinton clan”, Bannon mentioned the Brexit success and the Trump election last year, the developments in Poland and Hungary, the advance of the AfD in Germany and most recently the electoral successes of anti-system parties such as Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy. Almost two thirds of Italians voted against the establishment, which is very remarkable. "We won't win every election," said Bannon, "but the momentum is on our side." The revolt against the establishment is taking place all over the world. "If Brussels doesn't change dramatically, in the interests of its citizens, the EU will soon no longer exist."

The location of Köppel's Bannon Show was the sold-out Hall 622 behind the Zurich-Oerlikon train station. Over 1000 spectators followed the performance of the American president-maker. A large part of the mostly male audience consisted of “Weltwoche” readers. One elderly woman said she came out of curiosity. So much is written about Bannon and it is said that she now wants to get an idea of ​​him personally. Others identified themselves as Köppel sympathizers or said that they were interested in American politics.

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Video - «Bannon Go Away»

So went the demo against the appearance of the former Trump chief strategist. Video: Tamedia / SDA

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Up close and personal with the “devil”

With Bannon's commitment, Weltwoche achieved a veritable PR coup as part of its “on the road” series of talks. At the beginning of the Bannon evening, a visibly high-spirited Köppel promised a “summit of free speech”. Because “Weltwoche” is committed to free speech and believes in the power of arguments, it invited the controversial US nationalist to Zurich. "When I first read about Bannon, I thought it was the devil," said Köppel. "I wanted to get to know the devil." After getting to know Bannon, he could say "that he is not a devil, but a very interesting person."

The Zurich evening with Bannon lasted around 90 minutes. The first people had already appeared in front of Hall 622 two hours before the start of the event. Only people who had registered and had an ID or passport were admitted. The way into the event room led through security controls like at the airport. Drinks bottles were banned, as were rucksacks and larger bags. The rigorous security concept was not required by Bannon, but decided after talks with the police, said Florian Schwab, "Weltwoche" editor and media officer for the occasion. Schwab did not want to reveal how much fee Bannon received for his performance in Zurich.

Over 70 journalists from national and international media reported on the Bannon appearance. US media were also on site, such as “Politico”, “The New Yorker” and Breitbart News. Bannon had made Breitbart a successful fighting medium. In January, he had to give up his post as chairman of the ultra-right website after he had expressed disrespect for the Trump family in Michael Wolff's disclosure book (“Fire and Wrath”).

Praise for the listener Trump

In conversation with Köppel and in response to questions from the audience, Bannon praised the US President who fired him last August. "Sloppy Steve", "sloppy Steve", as Trump had tweeted, defended the controversial US trade policy. Trump wants fair trade, punitive tariffs are a start on the way there. Finally, Bannon stressed that Trump was anything but an autocrat or a dictator. “Trump is a person who can listen very well. He likes the competition of opinions and ideas. " That Bannon praised Trump wasn't really surprising: after all, he had made him president.

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AfD politician Weidel meets Bannon

The co-chair of the AfD parliamentary group, Alice Weidel, met on Tuesday in Zurich to exchange ideas with the former chief strategist of US President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon. From Weidel's office it was said that Bannon's experiences with political communication and alternative media were particularly interesting for them.

Weidel had announced in February that her group wanted to control its communication via its own “newsroom” from April onwards. As a justification, she said in an interview that the AfD (the right-wing nationalist alternative for Germany) is being ignored by many media or denigrated with “fake news”.

Bannon gave a speech in Zurich at an event organized by the Swiss World Week. Trump fired Bannon in August 2017. After Bannon's condescending statements about Trump's family in the book "Fire and Fury", the US president also broke privately with his former confidante. Bannon is currently in Europe to forge a network of populist movements. He sees Europe as the new cradle of this political current. Ultimately, his goal is the destruction of the state, as he said after his appointment as head of Trump's campaign team. (sda)

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