White House chief strategist Steve Bannon says he wants Democrats discussing identity and race daily.
“The Democrats – the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ‘em,” he said in an interview with The American Prospect released Wednesday.
“I want them to talk about racism every day,” Bannon added during a Tuesday phone call. "If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
Bannon was commenting upon last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, involving white nationalists.
The White House official dismissed the role white nationalists play in far-right politics and ideology.
“Ethno-nationalism – it’s losers,” he said. “It’s a fringe element. These guys are a collection of clowns. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.”
White nationalists descended upon Charlottesville last Friday to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee there.
The situation morphed into tragedy a day later when counter-protesters and white nationalists violently clashed.
One person died when a car drove into people demonstrating against white nationalism, and two Virginia State police officers were killed in a related helicopter crash.
Bannon joined President Trump’s 2016 election campaign as its chief executive officer after serving as the executive chair of Breitbart News.
The media figure famously described Breitbart as “the platform for the alt-right” during the height of last year’s presidential race.
Last weekend’s so-called “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville featured many prominent members of the alt-right and white supremacy movements.
The alt-right has been associated with isolationism, nationalism, hardline immigration policies and protectionist trade policies.
Critics have argued the loosely-defined movement, however, contains elements of white supremacy, racism and anti-feminism as well.