Seth Moulton hasn’t had many nice things to say about former White House adviser Steve Bannon. And, in turn, Bannon hasn’t had many kind words for Democrats.
However, the Massachusetts congressman was among a few members in his party named by Bannon in a 60 Minutes interview with Charlie Rose, who the former strategist and Breitbart chairman said “understands” how to potentially win back the government from Republican control.
Bannon says he loves it when Democrats focus on “identity politics.”
“The smart guys, the populists on their side … they said, ‘We’re not talking about identity politics. We’re not talking about race. We’re talking about economics,”’ Bannon said in a clip released Monday, referring to the Democrats’ recent “Better Deal” plan.
“They’re trying to go after the core Trump program, because they understand,” Bannon continued. “Bernie Sanders understands. Sherrod Brown understands. Tim Ryan understands. Seth Moulton understands. Tulsi Gabbard understands — that that’s what can win in this country.”
Earlier in the interview, Bannon said he was relieved when Brown, a populist liberal senator from Ohio, was not picked as Hillary Clinton’s running mate and that Clinton’s defeat in last year’s election could be “summarized” by her speech condemning white nationalism following Bannon’s appointment as the Trump campaign’s CEO.
“I sat there right then and told the crowd, I said, ‘We got her,'” he told Rose.
Since Trump’s election, the debate over whether Democrats should center their message around economics or so-called identity politics has become a divisive subject within the party.
For his part, Bannon — having recently returned to Breitbart after leaving his White House post — has made his opinion on the correct path clear.
“The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em,” he told The American Prospect last month. “I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
Moulton has been among a minority of elected Democrats calling for new leadership in his party.
In an interview in June, the Salem Democrat told NPR that while issues typically associated with identity politics were important, they weren’t where he would focus the party’s message.
“It’s got to be an economic message,” Moulton said. “It’s got to be a message of opportunity. Not just fairness, but how do we get you back to work? I think we’ve got to have a message that’s focused on where the economy is going, not just where it’s been. Not about going back to 1955 and going back into the coal mines, but really how everybody in America can be a part of the economy of the future.”
However, Moulton’s emphasis on economic issues is hardly an endorsement of Bannon’s worldview. From the beginning to the end of Bannon’s time in the White House, he was frequently condemned by the second-term Bay State congressman.
Last year, Moulton said Americans “should be appalled” by Bannon’s appointment as White House adviser and wrote a letter to Trump urging him to reconsider the decision.