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Steve Bannon thought Trump looked like Hitler as he descended the escalator at his 2016 campaign debut: book

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Collage: Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (left), former President Donald Trump.
Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (left), former President Donald Trump.Adrian Bretscher, Christopher Gregory/Getty Images
  • A new book from New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters details the origins of the 2016 Trump campaign.

  • Steve Bannon, an early Trump advisor, was reminded of a Nazi propaganda film on announcement day.

  • Peters writes that Bannon's immediate reaction to Trump's golden escalator ride was "That's Hitler!"

When Donald Trump rode a golden escalator down to announce his presidential candidacy in 2015, the carefully choreographed scene before TV crews reminded a soon-to-be Trump advisor of scenes from one of the most effective propaganda films ever made.

"That's Hitler!, Bannon thought, as the opening scene of Leni Riefenstahl's seminal work of Nazi propaganda, 'Triumph of the Will,' flashed through his mind," New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters writes in his new book, "Insurgency: How Republicans Lost Their Party and Got Everything They Ever Wanted."

In his notes on sourcing — which involved interviews with over 300 people, mostly while Trump was still in office — Peters explains that quotes presented in italics and in the past tense indicate "material from interviews conducted with the author on-the-record."

Bannon's immediate connotation to the Nazi propaganda film comes from the Trump 2016 campaign chief executive officer and former White House chief strategist's longstanding fascination with the aesthetic techniques of Riefenstahl.

"He meant it as a compliment," Peters writes. "As a documentarian himself who had studied and admired Riefenstahl's work, Bannon saw some of her visual techniques in Trump's production. To create the illusion that Hitler towered over everyone around him as a figure of superhuman proportions, Riefenstahl would keep him tight in her frame, often placing him on a higher plane than his adoring subjects."

The similarly "tight" shot of Trump cruising down the escalator struck not only Bannon, but also former Trump speechwriter Stephen Miller — who was also the architect of the Trump administration's family separation policy — according to Peters.

"Bannon thought that Trump's entrance looked strikingly similar, and that he was witnessing someone with an uncanny sense for manipulating public perception," Peters writes.

Insider was unable to reach Bannon for comment. He has denied accusations of harboring pro-Nazi and antisemitic views.

"Another person watching Trump's speech was Stephen Miller, who immediately got in touch with Bannon and asked to be connected to [former Trump campaign manager Corey] Lewandowski so he could pitch himself for a job on the campaign," the author later continues.

Trump's team initially considered having him descend in the same Trump Tower elevator often shown in "The Celebrity Apprentice," according to Peters.

"But by choosing the escalator," Peters writes, "the cameras would have to follow him in one largely continuous shot as he descended past cheering fans until he reached the bottom."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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