Steve Bannon Says He’ll Put ‘Good Money’ Toward Proving New Hampshire Was Stolen From Trump

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MANCHESTER, N.H. — Donald Trump lost New Hampshire because of out-of-staters who registered on election day and illegally voted for Hillary Clinton, former presidential adviser Steve Bannon said.

“I believe strongly, and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is, that we won the state of New Hampshire,” Bannon said, adding that he plans to contact the New Hampshire Secretary of State. “… Whatever it takes. Whatever amount of money it takes, I’m prepared to put it up. I think the people of New Hampshire deserve to understand what happened on that day.”

Bannon spoke at an event sponsored by 603 Alliance, a conservative organization in New Hampshire that seeks to influence politics through public forums and information.

Bannon noted that Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, who lives in Windham, New Hampshire, had guaranteed during the campaign that Trump would win the Granite State.

“Corey, my man,” Bannon said, to laughter, “we won this, brother, and I’m going to prove it. I’ve got good money to show that we did win it.”

Bannon was warmly received by about 175 people, who paid between $125 and $750 to attend the dinner and speech at The Executive Court Banquet Facility in Manchester, New Hampshire. About 15 state legislators stood to be recognized, along with former New Hampshire governor John H. Sununu and former New Hampshire Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien.

Bannon regaled the crowd with stories about the Trump campaign, which he took over as chief executive officer in August 2016.

Even before there was a Trump campaign, Bannon recalled a gathering of presidential candidates in April 2014 in the same Manchester banquet room when Trump wowed a crowd of Republican-leaning voters. Bannon said he stepped back and watched the crowd, and could see that Trump was connecting with the audience in a way that the other candidates, who were all accomplished speakers and gave good speeches, didn’t.

Trump spoke in plain language and made bold points about building a border wall, restoring manufacturing and the middle class, and making America great again “I thought he had a message that would connect with people,” Bannon said.

Bannon, who at the time ran Breitbart (as he does now, after being forced out of the White House this past August), said he interviewed Trump on his satellite radio show and tried to interest a reporter with a prominent newspaper in interviewing him.

The reporter laughed.

“He said, ‘Steve, my editor would fire me if he knew that I even thought of interviewing Donald Trump.’

“And I said, ‘Did you see that speech?’

“It doesn’t matter,” the reporter answered. “The guy’s a clown. It’s just not going to happen.”

Bannon said that was the way the members of the mainstream media who were there that day acted.

“And here’s what I noticed:  They hadn’t really listened to what he had to say. More importantly, they had absolutely no interest in watching the audience,” Bannon said. “And that was the key.”

“It was a collection of hobbits. It was a collection of deplorables,” Bannon said, satirizing Hillary Clinton’s later description of Trump supporters. “It was the backbone of this country, the people that coach our Little Leagues, keep our churches going. … It was right then that I knew, that Trump could run the whole table.”

Bannon during his talk paid tribute to Lewandowski, who invited Bannon to the Thursday night event and introduced him, for running a primary campaign that defeated 16 other candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

“It cut through the finest generation of politicians the Republican Party has ever created,” Bannon said.

He said he respects the other candidates who ran in the primaries, calling them “fantastic,” but said GOP voters picked the right candidate to beat Hillary Clinton.

“Not one of them, not one of them could have taken on the Clinton apparatus. That’s a killing machine. They’re out to destroy you,” Bannon said.

Bannon said Trump during the campaign asked him periodically what his percentages of winning were, and Bannon responded each time “100 percent” – even after the Access Hollywood tape surfaced a month before the election showing Trump had once talked about grabbing women in an aggressive sexual manner. Bannon said he told Trump that ordinary voters wouldn’t care about what Trump called “locker room talk,” and that he advised him to just plow through the controversy without offering abject apologies.

Bannon has been a strong supporter of Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama in a December 12 special election, who is in the midst of a firestorm stemming from a Washington Post story on Thursday reporting claims from a woman saying that Moore made inappropriate advances and sexual contact with her four decades ago when he was 32 and she was 14. Moore has denied the charges, but prominent Republicans are fleeing from him.

“The Bezos-Amazon Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos-Amazon Washington Post that dropped a dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore. Now is that a coincidence?” Bannon said. “That’s what I mean when I say ‘opposition party.’ Right? It’s purely part of the apparatus of the Democratic Party. They don’t make any bones about it. … It’s not a fair and free media anymore.”

Bannon didn’t elaborate on Moore’s situation, and he left immediately after his speech, without taking questions.

During his talk, he noted that Breitbart is not a down-the-middle media outlet, calling it “kind of an advocacy group in our own way,” focusing on what he called grassroots issues designed to help ordinary middle-class Americans besieged by disadvantageous trade deals and oppressed by what he called “this permanent political class.”

Bannon said he keeps those principles in mind when he evaluates candidates to work at Breitbart.

“I’m not looking for people who want to win Pulitzers. I’m looking for people who want to be Pulitzer,” Bannon said.

Gannon criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not doing more to accommodate President Trump’s agenda, but he said he has noticed that McConnell has been working harder on it since Bannon and other conservatives have been hitting him.

As for Bannon’s earlier comments about out-of-state voters in New Hampshire, similar claims have been whispered about for years, but apparent evidence surfaced in September, as state officials announced that more than 6,500 people registered to vote in New Hampshire on election day with out-of-state driver’s licenses but only about 15 percent of them later applied for New Hampshire driver’s licenses, as they were supposed to under state law.

Enthusiasm for the story lessened after observers pointed out that many of those voters might have been college students living in New Hampshire temporarily who legally registered to vote and then didn’t bother to get New Hampshire driver’s licenses. But Bannon said that even if one-third of the suspect group were college students, there are still about 3,600 votes unaccounted for, while Clinton officially won New Hampshire by only about 2,700 votes.

Lewandowski spoke to an independent journalist after Bannon’s speech, answering a question about the claim that Massachusetts residents may have stolen the New Hampshire election by coming up and voting there.

“Well, I think the governor’s working on it. The Legislature’s working on it. It’s very important that they get it done and get it done soon,” Lewandowski said.

Democrats have dismissed the claims, saying they have been investigated and debunked.

Earlier in the evening, Lewandowski was introduced by event organizer Fran Wendelboe, a former New Hampshire state representative who in 1997 helped found the House Republican Alliance, which rates state legislators by how faithfully they vote in line with the Republican platform and with a conservative view of the state and federal constitutions.

She noted that New Hampshire has 400 state representatives and 24 state senators and that nearly 1,000 bills are typically filed in the legislature, meaning it’s impossible to rely on the media to report on what individual legislators are doing. But she and others started flagging certain bills that had a clear impact on conservative principles and evaluating how various legislators voted on them.

Attendees at Bannon’s speech were given pink sheets with the names of 76 legislators who scored 90 or higher during the 2016-2017 legislative term.

Wendelboe from the podium urged Bannon to encourage conservatives elsewhere in the country to come up with a similar rating system for legislators.

“People are tired of voting to elect Republicans and they send them to Concord or they send then to Washington, and then they don’t do what they said they were going to do,” Wendelboe said. “… And they expect people to still go to the polls and still vote Republican, and they’re not doing that anymore.”

The dinner Bannon spoke at raised money for the 603 Alliance’s Initiative ’18, which she said will recruit conservative candidates in New Hampshire. The group plans to use the House Republican Alliance scorecard to identify current legislators who aren’t upholding conservative principles and should be replaced, she said.