On Sunday, former White House counsel Steve Bannon will appear in a CBS broadcast of “60 Minutes.” In a highly-anticipated interview with host Charlie Rose, Bannon is expected to divulge his views about the course of the Trump administration. An earlier backer of Trump, Bannon returned to his position at the Breitbart news website since leaving the White House.

In an early glimpse of the coming interview, Bannon is heard to say about White House aide Gary Cohn, “If you don’t like what he’s doing and don’t agree with it, you have an obligation to resign.”

Following events in Charlottesville VA, where a counter-protester was killed during clashes between white supremacists and Antifa radicals, Cohn said he seriously considered resigning after hearing President Trump's initial response to the incident. He said that the Trump administration "must do better" in condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists. On the day of the rally that was initially called in the midst of a controversy over the future of Confederate monuments, armed men menaced a synagogue in Charlottesville and shouted anti-Semitic epithets. The Jewish congregation has since added armed guards to its security. 

Cohn told The Financial Times last month: "As a Jewish-American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting 'Jews will not replace us' to cause this Jew to leave his job. I feel deep empathy for all who have been targeted by these hate groups. We must all unite together against them." Cohn met privately with Trump privately in the week following the protests and drafted a resignation letter, according to The New York Times. 

Cohn currently leads the White House national economic council, and is working with Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin on tax reform. He has been rumored to be in the running to succeed Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve. .

In the interview on CBS, Bannon said that the bishops of Catholic Church wants the Trump administration to keep Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program because "they need illegal aliens to fill the churches." A Catholic himself, Bannon said, "The Catholic Church has been terrible about this." Bannon said "The bishops have been terrible about this. You know why. Because unable to really — to come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens."

Bannon was responding to host Charlie Rose that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, as Archbishop of New York, had criticized Trump's decision to end DACA, even while the decision is on hold for six months to allow Congress to pass legisation on DACA. "They need illegal aliens to fill the churches," Bannon told Rose about Dolan's statements. "It's obvious on the face of it. That's what — the entire Catholic Bishops condemn him. They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration." While Bannon said that he respects the hierarchy in matters of church doctrine, but that the bishops’ position on DACA is "not doctrine at all."

"This is about the sovereignty of the nation," said Bannon. "In that regard, it's another guy with an opinion."

With regard to the approximately 800,000 so-called "Dreamers," who were brought to the United States illegally as children, Cardinal Dolan said on his Sirius XM radio program on Tuesday that Trump's termination of DACA is "certainly not Christian, and I would contend it's not American." Besides, Dolan claimed, Trump’s decision "turns our beloved immigrants into political hockey pucks, and they shouldn't be." Saying that the Catholic Church has "special solicitude" for immigrants, as "we are an immigrant church. They come to us first. The highest percentage of immigrants are, guess what? — Catholic."

In response to Bannon's comments, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League issued a statement. Donohue leads the Catholic League, which defends the rights of the Catholic Church. Donohue wrote: 

"There is nothing wrong about criticizing the bishops for any position they take on public policy, though when invidious motives are ascribed to them, such conjecture is unacceptable. That is what Steve Bannon has done with regard to their statements on immigration.
 
"It is certainly true that most of the bishops promote a liberal position on illegal immigration. That is open to fair criticism, but to say that their motive is to "fill the churches" is inaccurate and unfair. Indeed, it feeds the worst impulses of anti-Catholics. The bishops are making their case based on their compassion for the dispossessed.
 
"Is the compassion overwrought? Is it dismissive of the rights of those who have waited legally on line to enter the United States? Is it insensitive to the abuses of power exercised by President Obama to deal with this issue? Is it neglectful of a whole host of cultural and economic issues attendant to illegal immigration?
 
"There are many legitimate issues that can be raised about the approach that the bishops have taken, but not among them is the old saw about filling the pews. Besides, if filling the pews were the driving force, only a delinquent pastor would choose to attract those least likely to donate to, and most likely to draw on, parish funds."

 

 


 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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