Glenn Beck warned Americans about the threat of the 'alt-right' and newly-minted Trump advisor Steve Bannon in a confusing and rambling interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. Beck admittedly said the alt-right makes up less than 1% of those who voted for Trump but remains to be a threat to the country.
From Tuesday night's Anderson Cooper 360, via CNN:
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Our next guest has this to say about Steve Bannon, quote, "He's a nightmare and he's now is chief adviser to the president of the United States."
Nationally syndicated radio host Glenn Beck is founder of "The Blaze". He joins us now.
Glenn, great to have you on the program.
GLENN BECK, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Before this election, obviously, you made it clear you were not a Trump supporter. You were out there campaigning, first time you ever campaigned for a candidate, I think Ted Cruz --
COOPER: -- who actually visited Donald Trump today, I'm told, at Trump Tower. Late last week, you said that President Trump deserves a chance and that you're going to stand with him.
Has something changed in your mind? Or are you saying that the president-elect deserves that chance?
BECK: We have two responsibilities when it comes to an election as citizens. We have the responsibility to vote and then to honor that vote, even if we disagree with it. That doesn't mean that we blindly follow. It just means we can't afford the president to fail. We can't afford any president to fail.
It's getting worse and worse. And, Anderson, you know, you and I have talked several times -- I am concerned about the tenor of the nation and especially when it comes to the press on this particular issue when it comes to Bannon.
The alt-right is real. It's maybe -- I don't even know. Maybe 1 percent, 3 percent of the Trump vote. So, we're talking anywhere between 300,000 people to 1.5 million people maybe. That's a lot of people. But it is not the Trump crowd.
BECK: They are being influenced without knowing it, and for the media, who is distrusted on both sides but mainly on the right, to be talking about Bannon and to be talking about the alt-right -- now, I really, truly fear that this is going to be something that they don't listen to and they don't hear the warning. In fact, they dismiss it.
So, I want to be really careful on what is said, because this needs to be heard.
COOPER: Well, let's talk about the alt-right and what you -- how you see them, because, look, a lot of conservatives, you know, when they hear particularly, you know, folks on CNN or elsewhere or anybody talking about the alt-right, an understandable inclination is to believe, well, look, you're trying to brand all conservatives as being far right, alt-right, you know, bigoted, racist. That certainly is obviously not the case.
COOPER: So, to you --
BECK: And it's the mistake -- it's the mistake that I made by throwing around the word "Marxist". There are Marxists and there are people that are socialists. But the label of Marxist takes on a whole new meaning. Even socialist for a while took on a whole new meaning.
Now, that's OK. I made this mistake and nobody on the right -- or nobody on the left would listen. So, let's not make this mistake and I don't want to be part of that mistake. I want to make sure that everybody understands that the alt-right is real. It is truly terrifying, in my opinion. I --
COOPER: Who are they?
BECK: Anything that I would say about Bannon --
COOPER: Explain to people who --
BECK: Anything I would say about Bannon is --
COOPER: Go ahead.
BECK: OK, let me just -- let me do this.
BECK: I just wrote a couple of notes down, because I want to say them exactly right. I want to quote. Bannon said that Breitbart is a platform for the alt-right. This is 2016. He did an interview with Sarah Posner, he describing Breitbart as a platform -- this is a quote -- of the alt-right.
The next thing that happened is Breitbart told the right what the alt- right is and who is the center of alt-right thought and they said, in quote, "an establishment conservative guide to the alt-right under the heading intellectuals they identified Richard Spencer and Steve Sailer as the intellectual leadership running the websites considered to be the center of alt-right."
So let's just follow this. Steve Bannon said in 2016, to "The L.A. Times," "We are the platform giving voice to the alt-right." Then they identified the two leaders of the center of thought.
I want to give you some of the quotes. This is from Richard Spencer, "Our dream is a new society, an ethno state that would be the gathering point for all Europeans. It would be a new society based on very different ideals than, say, the Declaration of Independence."
Then, in 2013, "Today in the public imagination, ethnic cleansing has been associated with civil war and mass murder. Understandably so. But this does not need to be the case," end quote.
He then later went on with a salon, where he was talking about the government, partnering with the government for sterilization of races. And he said look, there's a quote, "That way you could still enjoy sex, it's not like you're ruining their life". That's the first guy that Steve Bannon identified as the center of the Alt-Rright that he gave Breitbart a platform to.
The second guy after Katrina, Steve Sailer said, "Look -- let the good times roll is especially or risky message for African-Americans. The plain fact is that they tend to possess poor native judgment than members of better educated groups. Thus, they need stricter moral guidance from society"
This is -- I do not believe that Donald Trump is a member of the Alt- right. I don't believe he believes any of this. I don't even think that Donald Trump is a racist. He is many things, but I don't think he's a racist.
Steve Bannon, I don't know him. I know several people that work for him. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but, Anderson, here is the real problem. The media doesn't have -- look, I don't have credibility with your viewers. And I know that, because I made mistakes. So the media doesn't have credibility. The media -- I just saw a new study today that said 5 percent of the people who voted for Donald Trump said there was some disturbing said, things said in the media, but they didn't believe them.
BECK: And if they would have believed them, they would have voted for Hillary Clinton or against Donald Trump. We have this lack of transparency, honesty, integrity. And this message about the Alt- right must be heard by the conservatives. They must take it seriously. Separate and apart from any kind of politics.
COOPER: We're going to take a break. I want to talk to you more about this in depth when we come back. We'll take a short break. More with Glenn Beck after.
COOPER: We're back talking with The Blaze's Glenn Beck about Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and the Alt-right. You know, Newt Gingrich said, I think it was over the weekend, that just because, you know, Bannon may habve publish some articles with provocative headlines or controversial headlines, that doesn't mean that he agrees with everything in those articles or in those headlines. You know, people -- I guess we all know websites publish that for click bait, to get people to click on it. Do you -- I mean can you draw a clear line between Steve Bannon and, you know, white nationalists and white supremacists? BECK: Just according to the "LA Times", his quote is Breitbart is a platform for the Alt-right. Then Breitbart describes who the center of thought is and they are white nationalists. They are -- they're spooky guys. You know, I don't want to speculate beyond that.
BECK: Because I don't know firsthand. I can only take him at his word. And Anderson, I mean honestly, there are people -- there will be people that will be, tonight, mad at you because you've put me on and you are normalizing me. I've seen this, you know, on my Facebook posts. The media should stop normalizing Glenn Beck. OK.
They're mad at you for that. But how could we -- I'm not a white nationalist. I'm a guy with a strong political opinion but I'm not a white nationalist. Here's a guy who is taking his platform and saying, I'm going to give the Alt-right a voice in this country. Anderson, I would never do that. You would never do that. CNN would never do that. We would never do that ever. No responsible person would.
COOPER: So -- I mean Donald Trump has said, look, on the campaign trail, you know, his daughter is Jewish, she converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner, that his grandchildren are Jewish, their children -- the idea being he would not support somebody who has, you know, anti-Semitic beliefs.
BECK: I don't make that claim on Bannon. Let me give you a scenario. I don't know what it is. I really don't. I know that he has said -- he has made it into a platform for the Alt-right and it has become that. So under his watch -- now what he believes, I don't know. He may just think this is a way to appeal -- I mean who is easy to appeal to, traditionalism, nationalism. You know, can we get a base that will really go out, you know, 5 percent that will really be excited about him. And really whip people up and use this extra 5 percent.
And then don't believe them and want to discard them? Yeah, he could be that kind of guy. People have done that before in history. I think that's just as dangerous, because if he doesn't believe it -- which I don't think he does. I don't know him, but I didn't think we even had all bunch of white nationalists around anymore, but we do.
COOPER: Yeah. Because that's the thing that, you know, conservatives traditionally and understandably have been upset about when people -- you know, it's very easy to label somebody a racist. I'm sorry easy to label somebody anything.
COOPER: And ...
BECK: And I don't want to do that.
COOPER: Right. What you're saying is you don't want to be that person doing that.
BECK: Right. And I don't want to do that even to Steve Bannon. I don't know. I do know that he has given a voice and power to that group of people. Why, I don't know. But it's important because you don't empower people like that. You just don't do that. It's not smart.
COOPER: So, are you saying he should not -- not be allowed in the White House, to be an advisor, you know, a top advisor, one of the most powerful advisors to the president? Or that Donald Trump needs to come forward and state very clearly where he stands? What do you ...
BECK: Oh I think he has already stated very clearly where he stands. He doesn't -- I don't know if anybody -- I mean look, Anderson, the word racism has been thrown around, and racist, so much to good, decent people that aren't racist. They're just not. And, please, I know I'm the most imperfect messenger to bring this to you, but the word has been thrown around about everyone. And so it doesn't mean anything anymore. And the problem is, when you throw a word around like that all the time, then you begin to dismiss the actual racists. And we have to have a discussion, aside from politics, about this small group of people and how this European and really pro-Russian nationalism is seeping into our country. It's very disturbing.
COOPER: And you're concerned ...
BECK: European style. Go ahead.
COOPER: You're concerned it is going to -- we showed Harry Reid there on the floor. You're concerned it' going to be seen as OK, this is just again one thing a club being used by one political party against another?
COOPER: And, therefore, easily dismissed by conservatives and others ...
COOPER: ... who, by all logic, should reject this very ideology?
BECK: Yes. The 99 percent of those people who voted for Donald Trump are not Alt-righters. They are not racists. They've never even heard of the word. I never heard of it until about eight months ago and started doing my research. Most people don't even think this exists. So when they hear somebody on CNN or a Harry Reid say this, their immediate response is, oh, geez OK ...
BECK: ... we're all racists again. And so it's really critical that we don't paint everybody with that brush, including Steve Bannon or Donald Trump unless you have real evidence. I know we have evidence that he is giving those people voice. He has empowered those people through Breitbart. But that's all we know. COOPER: I got to take another break. I'm blowing up my show. Can you stick around for one more block?
COOPER: OK. We're going to take a quick break. More with Glenn Beck, when we come back.
COOPER: And continue our conversation tonight with The Blaze's Glenn Beck. I wanted to ask you about the fear that some people in America feel tonight and have felt this past week, I think back to when President Obama first got elected and, you know, many certainly in the media were following that story very closely. You didn't see a lot of stories on the evening news, you know, the day after President Obama was elected about half the country who were in mourning or upset or angry or fearful, which the day after this election, I turned on some television show and they're interviewing a psychiatrist about what to do about the depression and the fear that you now feel.
So, I preface my question with that, but what do you say to people tonight who, you know, for whatever reason do fear what will happen next?
BECK: I understand. I hear you. I understand. I have felt that way before and didn't feel like anybody was listening to us and taking us seriously.
COOPER: You felt that way when Obama was elected?
BECK: Yeah. I'm not -- I don't think like -- I don't think as deeply as people feel that right now.
BECK: But, yeah. You know, we were called that people that cling to our God and our guns and we just felt like, uh-oh, what is this? Now -- so I felt that way and then we were called names and then we started calling names and then it just got bad. So I hear you. I understand you. I can relate to how you feel and part of me feels the same way.
And Anderson, I read a story about California saying they wanted to secede from the union, Californian Origins ...
BECK: ... going around that wanting to secede. And I remember everybody was mocking Texas when -- I mean but, Texas has said that since like1840. It's nothing new with Texas. But that's what Texas has been saying. And we were mocked for that.
Here is what I would really like to get. The balance of power of the House and the Senate, the three branches of government, Executive, Legislative, and Supreme Court. That's why that balance is so important. That's why people like me the constitutionalists have been saying don't give the president so much power. The president should not be able to make me or you ever worried about what's going to happen in our personal life.
He might be able to make us worried about our culture about what is he going to do to our culture. That, I understand, because of his bully pulpit. But he shouldn't be able to cause this much fear. The balance of power is out. And when the balance of power is right and the government is right sized, California still can be California. It can be, in my opinion, as crazy as it wants to be. And Texas, in other's opinion, can be as crazy as it wants to be. But we're still brothers in the union. And we're allowed to be ourselves.
COOPER: Do you think -- from what you've seen so far -- I mean, you know, it's -- there's a -- oh there was a fear early on with conservatives about Donald Trump that, you know, he was more practical than ideological, and that, you know, he, himself, has talked during the campaign about, you know, I can be anybody who I want to be. When I'm down in Palm Beach, I can be one way, in New York City in a business meeting, I can be different way, I'll be different way in the White House and things are negotiation.
Do -- does -- is that a concern of you that -- I mean I understand President Obama said, that he's more practical than he is ideological. Do you think that's true of him? And does that worry you?
BECK: No, I would like a practical president, but I would like to be able to have his practicality based on principles, and not just who -- I mean the room with. And that, you know, that we wait to see that. Hopefully, he's a very practical man. You know, I think Salena Zito said it the best -- this is the best explanation of what happened last Tuesday I've ever heard, it was from Salena Zito, and she said, the people like me took him literally, but never seriously. But his supporters took him seriously and not literally. I don't know which way to take him. And only time will tell. Only time will tell.
COOPER: When you said Salena for a second, I thought you were going to quote Celine Dion, and then I thought, you know, Glenn ...
BECK: No, no.
COOPER: ... how are you possibly going to bring Celine Dion into this.
BECK: No I'm not.
COOPER: Glenn Beck, it's always good talk to you. I really as you know, I love you have on. So thanks very much, Glenn. We'll continue this discussion.
BECK: Thanks very much. You bet, Anderson.