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Bannon: Trump administration is in unending battle for 'deconstruction of the administrative state'

White House strategist Steve Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday. CPAC host Matt Schlapp on Thursday.Alex Wong

OXON HILL, Md. — Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s reclusive chief strategist and the intellectual force behind his nationalist agenda, said Thursday that the new administration is locked in an unending battle against the media and other globalist forces to ‘‘deconstruct’’ an outdated system of governance.

In his first public speaking appearance since Trump took office, Bannon made his comments alongside White House chief of staff Reince Priebus at a gathering of conservative activists. They sought to prove that they are not rivals but partners in fighting on Trump’s behalf to transform Washington and the world order.

‘‘They’re going to continue to fight,’’ Bannon said of the media and other forces he sees as standing in the way. ‘‘If you think they are giving you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.’’


Atop Trump’s agenda, Bannon said, was the ‘‘deconstruction of the administrative state,’’ meaning a system of taxes, regulations, and trade pacts that the president believes stymie economic growth and infringe upon sovereignty.

‘‘If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction,’’ Bannon said.

Bannon and Priebus advanced the administration’s war against the media in a joint appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where they were interviewed on stage by Matt Schlapp, president of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the gathering.

Last week, Trump had said that the media were ‘‘the enemy of the American people.’’ Bannon picked up that theme.

‘‘They’re corporatist, globalist media that are adamantly opposed to an economic nationalist agenda like Donald Trump has,’’ he said. ‘‘If you look at the opposition party and how they portrayed the campaign and how they portrayed the transition and how they portray the administration, it’s always wrong.’’

Priebus agreed, saying that he thinks the biggest misconception about the Trump administration in its first month is ‘‘everything that you’re reading.’’ He and Bannon were defiant about the way they have been represented in the media, insisting that reports of a power struggle were flat wrong.


Priebus said that after attacking Trump during the campaign, journalists ‘‘now feed ridiculous stories.’’

Bannon added: ‘‘Just like they were dead wrong on the chaos of the campaign and just like they were dead wrong on the chaos of the transition, they are absolutely dead wrong on what they’re reporting today.’’

All of Trump’s campaign promises, he said, would be implemented in short order.