Steve Bannon tells black business leaders to demand better
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Former White House strategist Steve Bannon told a group of black South Carolina business leaders today he understands the frustration they and others might feel at not being able to grow their businesses.
"Minority entrepreneurs are the biggest customers of community banks," Bannon said. "And you know why they didn't get recapitalized? Because nobody cares. When it comes time to make the deals, you're not in the room."
The Brietbart News chief participated in a round-table discussion with several dozen black business leaders from across the Carolinas and Georgia. The event sponsored by the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce was closed to media except for The Associated Press.
Chamber Chairman Stephen Gilchrist, who counts Bannon as a friend, said he broached the idea of speaking to some of his members during a recent visit with Bannon at his Washington, D.C., home.
"This administration has an opportunity to engage a new constituency, and show them what policy really means," Gilchrist told AP, ahead of the event.
Bannon got a warm welcome from the group, getting a resounding "Amen!" from members when he explained his concept of "economic nationalism" has nothing to do with ethnicity or race but rather for policies that advance opportunities for its citizens.
For the black community, Bannon said, that means strengthening the community banks on which he said many minority-owned businesses rely. Those institutions, he said, didn't get the same bailout opportunities as bigger banks did after the economic downturn several years ago.
"When it comes time to make the deals, you're not in the room," he said, adding that big banks "got a piece of the action."
"Isn't it time for your piece?" he asked.