Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's antipathy for Islam is well known, including his repeated calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States. So it may not be surprising that Trump's new campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, has long been a champion of the most ardent anti-Muslim extremists.
For nearly a year before Trump hired Bannon to run his campaign, Bannon hosted a daily radio show where many of his guests instigated fear and loathing of Muslims in America. According to research by Mother Jones and the Nation Institute's Investigative Fund, Bannon conducted dozens of interviews on his SiriusXM show, Breitbart News Daily, with leading anti-Muslim extremists. The collective interviews, steeped in unfounded claims and conspiracy theories, paint a dark and paranoid picture of America's 3.3 million Muslims and the world's second-largest faith.
One of Bannon's guests on the show, the high-profile Trump surrogate Roger Stone, warned of a future America "where hordes of Islamic madmen are raping, killing, pillaging, defecating in public fountains, harassing private citizens, elderly people—that's what's coming."
Bannon often bookended these interviews with full-throated praise for his guests, describing them as "top experts" and urging his listeners to click on their websites and support them. Bannon also occasionally offered his own comments demonizing Muslim Americans, such as when he referred to a moderate Muslim advocacy group as a "front group" and "a bunch of lies," and when he warned about the threat of "Shariah courts" taking over Texas.
What follows are excerpts and select audio clips (edited for length) from Bannon's radio interviews, dating from fall 2015. The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
ROGER STONE, Trump surrogate and former campaign adviser
Number of interviews on Bannon's show: 18
Praise from Bannon: "One of the top political thinkers, strategists, practitioners of the dark arts of politics…a gentleman who, as we've gotten to know him over the last couple of years, has been so right on so many topics time and time again."
On the danger facing America: "The rise of Trump is a repudiation of 30 years of bipartisan treason and failure. Bush equals Clinton equals Bush equals Obama equals Clinton. It's the same policies…immigration policies that may turn us into Europe, where hordes of Islamic madmen are raping, killing, pillaging, defecating in public fountains, harassing private citizens, elderly people—that's what's coming. That wave is coming this way. Only one guy can stop it."
On Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin: "Look, I also think now that Islamic terrorism is going to be front and center, there is going to be a new focus on whether this administration, the administration of Hillary Clinton at State, was permeated at the highest levels by Saudi intelligence and others who are not loyal Americans. I speak specifically of Huma Abedin."
PAMELA GELLER, president of Stop Islamization of America
Number of interviews on Bannon's show: 7
Praise from Bannon: "Pamela Geller is one of the top word experts in radical Islam and Shariah law and Islamic supremacism…the top leading expert in this field…one of the great American patriots. She has been a voice in the wilderness, and now her time has come."
On George W. Bush's post-9/11 speech at a mosque: "Bush may have said it's a 'religion of peace,' which, you know, we all deplore, because it was a teachable moment."
On radical Muslim "infiltration" of the US government: "There was some of this under Bush, but nothing like with President Obama. The infiltration of the Department of State, the Department of Defense, you know, even 1600 [Pennsylvania Avenue, i.e., the White House]. It's been a drip, drip, drip. We've reached critical mass now…you know, Obama has stacked these agencies. And that's why the next president, it's not enough for us to elect the right guy, I mean we need someone who is going to do a major purge…The Department of Justice has become a de-facto legal arm for Muslim Brotherhood groups. I mean, they are suing towns, they are suing schools, they are suing prisons, really to impose the Shariah."
On CIA Director John Brennan's religion:
Geller: Look, I am weary of John Brennan. Here is a man who said that jihad is a legitimate tenant of Islam.
Bannon: He was station chief in Saudi Arabia for many years, was he not, ma'am?
Geller: Yes he was. And of course, one FBI agent had said that he had converted to Islam at that time. Like I said, I don't trust John Brennan.
On the Boston Marathon bombing:
Geller: Every mosque that is tied to jihad-related activity should be shut. The Islamic Society of Boston mosque…
Bannon: One of the great partners of President Obama's campaign, correct?
Geller: Correct, and the mosque behind the Boston bombing. A number of terror-related activity. We have to get serious.
On the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the media:
Bannon: The Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR, all of it, is a bunch of spin, it's a bunch of lies. Why does the mainstream media bite the hook so hard, Pamela Geller?
Geller: They don't only bite it, they serve as almost dictation for terror-tied groups like CAIR…The first ISIS-directed attack, which was Garland, Texas, was a year ago, and look where we are. You still have the media running to these terror groups like CAIR. They don't question them…
Bannon: The mainstream media, all of it, including the Washington Post and the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, are all basically going along the lines of being Shariah-compliant on blasphemy laws.
FRANK GAFFNEY, president and founder of the Center for Security Policy
Number of interviews on Bannon's show: 29
Praise from Bannon: "He is one of the senior thought leaders and men of action in this whole war against Islamic radical jihad…doing amazing work, doing God's work, sir. Just fantastic."
On the mainstream groups that represent Muslims in the United States: "These Muslim Brotherhood fronts—the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Islamic Society of North America—we need accountability for what these groups are doing and need to understand that in many ways they are as toxic and dangerous for America as are their violent counterparts, which have exactly the same goal that they do, which is imposing the Shariah doctrine on all of us."
On Huma Abedin: "Huma Abedin is almost certainly going to be at the very right hand of Hillary Clinton should she become president, and Huma Abedin is tied as Peter and you know to the Muslim Brotherhood. I believe she has been involved in all of the decisions that have affected America's vital national security interest, imperiled by our ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and the accommodation of its demand by, again, cross-subordination to Islamic supremacism.
On President Obama's alleged sympathies: "I'm afraid that Donald Trump is right, that the president has exhibited sympathy, if not for the terrorists, then certainly for the Islamic supremacists."
On Khizr Khan, the father of an American soldier killed in Iraq: "This fellow, Khizr Kahn, absolutely embraces, supports, and is seeking to promote Shariah."
On Benghazi: "We have a fifth column in the form of the Shariah-adherent part of the Muslim community. And whether it's in the government, whether it's in our churches, whether it's in our financial sector, with Shariah-compliant finances. You know, Steve, whether it's in the media, whether it's in, you know, all of our other civic society institutions—it is at work and part of this particular government. And to some extent, we saw it in the whole Benghazi scandal."
ROSEMARY JENKS, director of government relations for NumbersUSA
Number of interviews on Bannon's show: 3
Praise from Bannon: "One of the great experts… the NumbersUSA people, just unbelievable what they accomplish in this area of immigration reform…You've gotta support them. You've gotta go to the website."
On Shariah in the United States:
Jenks: Muslims who are Shariah-compliant believe that Shariah should be the law of the land. That's where we have a problem. I don't know that there is a way to…
Bannon: I think most people in the Middle East are at least Arab—or believe in being Shariah-compliant. I mean one of the issues we have in Garland, Texas, is trying to stop these Shariah courts. We started Breitbart London—one of the big reasons we did it was all these Shariah courts were starting under British law. You know, they're allowing it [to] happen and it was causing massive problems.
ROBERT SPENCER, director of Jihad Watch and co-founder of Stop Islamization of America
Number of interviews on Bannon's show: 2
Praise from Bannon: "He's…one of the top two or three experts in the world on this great war we are fighting against fundamental Islam."
On the Iran nuclear deal:
Bannon: Is there anybody or any pattern of evidence in the history of Persia or the history of Iran since it became Islamic that showing them an olive branch has ever worked?
Spencer: Never. Not once.
Bannon: Never? Not one shred of evidence?
Spencer: Not one bit…When they get a nuclear weapon they will probably try to use it. They don't care.
Bannon: Why? No one's used one since the end of WWII.
Spencer: They want to get nuked back. That sounds crazy, but its not; it's Shiite eschatology. Because the 12th Imam, their savior figure, is going to come back when the Muslims are more persecuted.
Bannon: Do you believe that? Do they believe that?
Spencer: They believe that. In the book, I have a former president of Iran saying, "We can sustain 10 or 15 million casualties if we're nuked." And they want that because the 12th Imam is going to come back when the Muslims are persecuted more than they've ever been before so they can bring about their persecution and then their God comes.
Bannon: That makes them actually rulers of the Islamic world by doing that.
Spencer: Right, when the 12th Imam comes back he goes to war.
Bannon: It's a purifying fire, which they come through and then take on the Judeo-Christian West and conquer.
Spencer: And conquer and Islamize the entire world. That's the idea.
This article was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. Reporting contributed by Kalen Goodluck, with additional research assistance provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center.