Zero Tolerance: Alex Marlow Interview | FRONTLINE

>>Can you compare the Obama inauguration and the Trump inauguration, the messaging, the tone? Give us a little bit of—>>Sure, right, so at— we launched—or Andrew Breitbart launched it and a very small team at the time the day after Barack Obama’s inauguration. So we were warming up to it. I had started with Andrew about a year before. And we launched the first of our set of group blogs, Big Hollywood. And part of the reason why we launched Big Hollywood first—and this was Andrew’s vision, of course, with his business partner Larry Solov, who’s still our CEO, his lifelong best friend, and John Nolte, who is now one of our senior writers at Breitbart, so it was just the four of us at the time and a bunch of Andrew’s friends and people he’d come into contact with in L.A. And the reason why he launched the entertainment side first was because he saw Barack Obama as a made-for-TV president. Now, that kind of rings a bell now because we talk about Trump as the made-for-TV president. Obama was the original. He was basically drafted by Jeffrey Katzenberg and all of these folks in Hollywood who are very powerful — David Geffen, all of these people who were huge-money money people, but also with the biggest connections on planet earth, to not just mold and craft a politician, but then to help set the tone in terms of what he’s talking about, but also, you know, all these music videos that are being made where celebrities are coming out. And it was a true rock star, treating him like a rock star. And this was—it makes perfect sense, because Andrew always saw this as a possibility. And so that’s why we started on the entertainment side of things. So we watched the inauguration, which was, I think as a country, I think people— generally it was a great day for the country. I wasn’t a supporter of President Obama’s. I don’t think anyone in the room with us that day was. Maybe there was; I don’t know. But we were getting ready to launch Breitbart. And so it was—it was—we were ready for our— to start our business and to be a conservative set of group blogs. Hollywood was going to be first, and then politics followed nine months later. So the difference for Trump’s inauguration was leaps and bounds. I was living in D.C., so I was in L.A. for the Obama inauguration. I was living in D.C. for the Trump inauguration, about a mile from the Lincoln Memorial. And it was completely tense. I mean, the city was much more— the security was unbelievable. There were so many streets that were shut down. I went to one of the inaugural balls, and antifa is in the streets preventing people from walking. There was—it was incredibly tense because people on the hard left were not just protesting, they were being outright violent. They were smashing cars in the streets. And I don’t remember any of that from Obama’s inauguration. So it was a totally different tone. Now, people would ask, where did that tone come from? A lot of people would suggest that Trump started it. I don’t believe so. I believe Trump was a reaction to that simmering anger and animosity from the left.>>And the speech itself, Trump’s speech, is a searing indictment of the prior administration.>>Sure, it was. And I think Obama—there was a lot of people who voted for Obama and then eventually voted for Trump who would probably see it as Obama campaigned on the promise of hope and change. He campaigned as a unifier. He was inaugurated as a unifier, and then he governed as far left as he could go. And he took a lot of opportunities to divide and to use his powers in the presidency in order to make life more difficult for people who disagreed with him politically, and was very dismissive of people who disagreed with him politically. And so that was, I think, where Trump was coming from, was that he was elected to be a correction to that, of where the elites had just gotten too powerful, too disconnected from the people. And the one person in Washington who was speaking to the people, Barack Obama, turned out that he didn’t end up going to bat for them, at least from the vantage point of us at Breitbart, and I think a lot of voters as well.>>The great uniter is the great divider.>>That’s how we see it. And I think that’s how the president saw it. And I think that explains a lot of the language. But he did cover—it wasn’t just tone. People like to focus on the tone, which of course had some dark moments to it, but also the content of what he was talking about and the stakes. I think the stakes are very high in this country because there’s a lot of the fundamentals that I think go into what makes America unique and special that are— were really all of a sudden starting to reconsider them, and on a very broad level; not in the fringes, not, you know, at the—the faculty lounge in UC Berkeley where I went to college. We’re talking about a major political party. A major political party is kind of reevaluating whether or not our founders are worth respect—being— worth respect and celebration; whether or not there are parts of the Constitution that are total air balls and should get removed. So I think the president struck a tone that I think resonated with a lot more people than the media would let on.>>And I say “great uniter” meaning Obama, and yet “great divider” throughout the presidency. There’s a whole ’nother group of folks that are watching that administration. Some folks call them the “forgotten,” but they’re seeing a very different movie.>>Certainly. That’s exactly right. And I think that for—a couple of examples come to mind, because it’s not fair to give the generalization without the examples. Obamacare passing: The biggest piece of legislation in the history of the country was passed entirely along party lines. So he didn’t get one person across party lines. And then most of the horror stories that the right had predicted about Obamacare started to come true. I mean, the website didn’t function; people lost their insurance. I know this; I lost my insurance twice during this process. People were—their premiums went up, so all the things that people had warned about that had happened. And then there are other examples, but one that also comes to mind are things like Trayvon Martin, with the Trayvon Martin shooting, where the—this was—the media completely misled the public about what had happened. They had portrayed it as a white man had preyed upon a young, unarmed black man. Well, the white man turned out to be George Zimmerman who was—who was called a “white Hispanic” at some point, whatever that means. But he was not a pure white the way that the media portrayed him early on. And there was clearly a skirmish, a struggle of some sort, because Zimmerman had cuts on the back of his head. So there was a fight. So we weren’t told about this for a very long time, and the media had actually maliciously entered— I’m sorry, had—had deceptively edited tape and edited footage in their reports to make it seem as though some of this context wasn’t a part of the story. So I think Barack Obama had an opportunity at that moment to come out and say that this is a moment where we need to rise above; we need to not let race relations deteriorate as a society; this is an isolated incident, and this is something that we can get beyond. But instead he came out and said, “Trayvon Martin looks like he could have been my son,” and basically, I think, added to the racial division that— that was a catalyst for it. So that’s an example of another opportunity where Obama, again campaigning as a uniter— and whether or not you agree with him. Maybe you agree with all these points. Maybe you agree that it was actually a racial hate crime, Trayvon Martin, the death of Trayvon Martin, which I don’t think the evidence supports that. But what was interesting was one example of many where Barack Obama had the chance to rise above and chose not to. Same thing with Obamacare. Same thing here. And it happened a lot throughout his presidency.>>… I’m going to come back to Trayvon, and I’m going to come back to health care in a deeper dive, but let me go back to the ’08 campaign and Sarah Palin for a moment. What does her candidacy represent?>>Everything. The Sarah Palin candidacy is, other than arguably Trump and Obama— and I mean arguably— the most significant of my lifetime. And I think that will hold, because she was the beginning of the shift where the people began to believe that they could take the power back from the elite. And she laid out a playbook that Donald Trump followed in many ways and expanded upon in other ways. So I was hip to the Palin trend very early because I was a College Republican, and this is what College Republicans do, is they go around, they look at all the governors and all the senators, and they think, well, who’s an up-and-comer? So she was on my radar before most of the country, I’m proud to say. And I know that’s a brag, but it is— it’s also a nerdy brag, so I think it’s OK. But I saw her ideas as very resonant and very relatable, but the content behind them was quite strong. And the media insisted on portraying her as a buffoon, which I think may have worked at the time. But as conservative new media began to expand, and as the people I think began to find their voice, … I think it backfired in the long run, the way she was treated. But she had a pretty clear playbook, and it starts with new media. She was a maven on Facebook. So we all talk about the president’s Twitter 24/7 at this point in this country. The original politician who saw that you could skirt the media and you could get the message out unfiltered, uncut to the public was Sarah Palin. She did that with Facebook, and she also did it with Twitter. She’s quite good at that, too, but making it so that she was packaging her ideas for the people, and she was giving them directly to the people. She also was a huge check on Republican corruption as well, which was a massive issue at Breitbart, that we had seen the Republican establishment as at least as bad as the Democratic establishment because they were—their principles were— were wrong in many cases, but their ability to execute was even worse. Yet their ability to enrich themselves and to make themselves more powerful was uncanny. So this—her message really spoke to us, because she started talking about things like the energy sector; she started talking about things like drilling; she started talking about things like immigration, things like trade, where the Republican establishment really was not with it, with the people. And there was a big divide between the people in Washington and the people in the rest of the country. And so Palin, I think, set a lot of that tone, and then Trump— she created the opening that Trump was able to run through a few years later.>>And what were her people? Who were they?>>Well, so she would—this is— the magic of it is she would talk directly, I think, to the public. She had the populist vibe, and she walked the walk. She was so far removed from Washington, and she was relatively new. She was incredibly new on the national scene; she’d only been a governor for half a term or so, and she was new to public life. So her—the way she spoke, she spoke to people not with a coached—she had authenticity. That’s the key thing. It was the authenticity that resonated. And when she refused to go to the press and trust the press to deliver her message, that was—regardless of content, that was so refreshing for people who are very skeptical of the press, which is almost the entirety of the right. So—and what did she start talking about? The issues I mentioned. Also media, media bias. And I think these are the two signature issues that Trump was able to use to his advantage, were the bias in our establishment media and immigration. Those are—he’s very good on many other issues, or very bad if you differ with my political worldview. But the main thing is that those were the top two: The media is the problem, and the immigration crisis that we have is a ticking time bomb. And she was talking about that stuff as well, and she was doing it almost identically to the way the president is doing it, is going around the media, which was amazing.>>… Let me ask you about the Tea Party summer. [I’m] curious if you can put us in some of the rallies, if you were—if you were a witness to them. >>Yeah, I went to a few. I tracked most of everything from online, but I was certainly at a number of them. Andrew Breitbart spoke at a number of them, my boss and mentor and the founder of And this is the—these are the people Palin was speaking to, and this is who Andrew was speaking to. And I’ll tell you, across the board, the people of influence and power—be it Andrew, be it Michelle Malkin, be it Sarah Palin, be it the elected leaders who would speak to the Tea Party— they were all so invigorated by it. And it hurt immensely the media’s cause of trying to destroy and discredit the Tea Party, that they were constantly smeared and lied about. They were constantly—we were constantly told that these people are racist and that these people are hate-filled. And then you’d show up, and, as Andrew used to put it, you would see men in tricorn hats and dogs with American flag jumpers on. And these are not the—the bigots and racists that the media kept telling us we were seeing. And you can contrast it, you can fast-forward to the Occupy Wall Street protesters, which were these sort of filthy tent encampments with lots of violence. That was what they said the Tea Party was. Tea Party wasn’t that at all; it was very upbeat, patriotic Americans, and they weren’t just talking about the issues that the Republican establishment was talking about—you know, the export/import bank and tax cuts, even though we tend to like tax cuts. It wasn’t just that. It was, why is the plan to take our health insurance away and take our doctors away? Why is no one doing anything about the border? And why are people talking about cutting back on the Second Amendment? And why do we have to be so subservient to global bureaucracies and unelected bureaucrats who want to control our energy sector? These are all basic stuff that hit with the Tea Party. Oh, and trade was another huge one, where people saw the Midwest and what was happening with globalism, where we were taking American jobs, and in the name of free trade what we were doing is we were essentially hiring people at a cut rate overseas and putting not just American families but American towns, entire cities, out of business. And a lot of people were thinking this, as it turned out, in the middle of the country. And no one was reporting on it. It was virtually—everyone missed the story. A handful of exceptions. And Breitbart, we were just getting our sea legs, so we were starting to report on it, but we were new at the time. And so Andrew would speak to these people. He would find them to be fundamentally decent, great Americans. And I think a lot of people had similar experiences. And the star was, without a doubt, Sarah Palin. She was the star of the Tea Party. >>And conservative talk radio around this period of time, are they—>>Massive. It’s a—conservative talk radio, I can’t think of an exception to the rule that they were very helpful with the cause. It was—this was the baby of online new media, of the Andrews and the Malkins and the RedStates of the world. This was their project. But talk radio was very much a part of it. I can’t think of a single talk show host who was not encouraging this rise of the Tea Party and defending them. But talk radio was set. Talk radio has been a conservative medium. That’s what I grew up on. That’s been our medium for decades, so—>>And who are some of the personalities around this time?>>Rush [Limbaugh] was the biggest, and then [Sean] Hannity after that. But the Salem stations with Dennis Prager, always very good. And Larry Elder, who I used to work for. So there’s—there’s lots of great people. I know I would leave people out. But Rush and Sean were the kings then, as is kind of the case now. You know, I’d listen to Michael Savage a lot— so there was a lot of people— who’s been talking about immigration for his whole career. So a lot of these issues would be familiar to people who listen to talk radio. And you know, especially if you listen to a guy like Prager, that a lot of this is not—there’s no racial component. I mean, these are some of the kindest people there is. And so to tell people who simply differed on policy, to refer to them as racists was—again, I think it backfired. Maybe not short term so long as the Democrats could nominate Barack Obama as their candidate, but longer term, I think this was a huge disaster for the left in America, that they—the demonization.>>Talk to me about also the break that’s happening between media in the conservative circle, specifically that everyone we’ve just sort of talked about is certainly on a different side of the establishment, right?>>Yes. And this is a—was a huge project of Breitbart’s, is trying to at least identify where the differences were between establishment conservative outlets and the National Reviews of the world and the— and much of Fox, and where we thought the people were. There was a huge—and I think Fox is different now, but going into, really up until 2016, was very much a pro- — if not pro-open borders, certainly a pro-amnesty for illegal aliens. They were— [Sen.] Marco Rubio was their chosen candidate. I think they worked very hard to make sure the president wasn’t the nominee in the 2016 election, for example. … So in 2012, the RNC [Republican National Committee] put out this “autopsy” report, and in this autopsy they gave one policy prescription, one policy prescription. That was amnesty for illegal immigrants. That is the only way the Republicans could ever win again. And much of the base, who we talked to at Breitbart— we think of it as the base, and we believe it’s the base— and we, and our commenters, which are some of the most robust on the whole internet, they think that’s the exact wrong idea. Yet the Republican establishment was touting this— The Weekly Standard, the National Review— that we need to have an amnesty even before we have border security. Now, if you want to debate amnesty, I understand. But if you want to have an amnesty before we close the border— now, I’m very anti-amnesty personally, but I understand; I understand it. I don’t understand how you could give people amnesty before we sealed the border, before we closed it off, so that we had a sane immigration system. So a lot of people in the base portion of the right, I think of the more Tea Party portion, if you will, the America First portion, are sitting around going, these guys have completely lost it. They have no—they’re completely out of touch. We don’t want to reward people for coming into the country illegally. And if we do, we’re certainly not going to do it when the border is still open. It’s an open invitation for everyone just to try to get here as soon as possible. So these were some of the worst ideas in modern political life. And they were being touted by much of conservative media and the Republican Party. And this, again, another huge opportunity not just for a Donald Trump, but for a Breitbart and for others to help the people get their voices out.>>You guys saw this much earlier than anyone else.>>Absolutely.>>What did you see in the base, and what did you see in the base in connecting with the issue of immigration?>>Sure. Well, part of it is, we spent a lot more time talking to the public than we spent talking to the elite. The—it was very rare when someone would stop by who was in the elite who would, an elected leader, for example, stop by Andrew’s house. And those who did were kind of on the same page. They kind of—they liked what he was talking about. And we loved hearing from anyone. Andrew was an incredible listener, so— and we started his company in the basement of his house in Westwood. … A huge difference between most of the establishment media and what we were trying to do at Breitbart is—at Breitbart, it was a combination of both highlighting what we believed were big stories and what the people wanted to read as big stories. And if you look at cable news today, for example, in most— really most news in general, most newspapers, it is very elite, very privileged people telling people what they think the news is. There’s a great example, The New York Times responding to blue-checkmark-verified Twitter accounts and changing their front page, literally editing their front page to conform with the orthodoxy as set out by left-wing Twitter. I mean, that’s unthinkable in— to Andrew Breitbart that that would happen. So we spoke to the people a lot. And these were the issues that mattered to them: immigration. If you look at polling, not just in the United States but in Europe, immigration is the most important issue to a lot of sections of the population. Republican voters, by a mile, it’s the number one issue, even ahead of tax cuts. And if you look at, for example, there’s a poll recently in Europe where immigration is ahead of climate change. Even though the European media is obsessed with climate change, the European voters are not obsessed with climate change; they’re obsessed with immigration. They think immigration is the big threat. So—and this was very easy for me to get my head around, as was Andrew’s and Larry, because we’re all from Los Angeles, and so we’re 20 years ahead of everyone on illegal immigration. And it is—we’ve seen how the city is completely not manageable because of illegal immigration, and it hasn’t been for decades. And no one says a word about it. The—there’s not a—no one who’s in elected office talks about it as an issue. It is merely something that’s embraced. We just embrace the fact that we have a lawless system of immigration. And well, that’s clearly not the way to go, because we’ve seen it. It makes it impossible to have a school system. It makes it impossible to have any sort of law and order. And this is—not to mention it penalizes Americans because people lose jobs; not to mention if there is violence, which of course not—the vast majority are not violent who come in, but people do come in. It is competition for the Americans who are here, for their jobs. So maybe they’ll lose their job; maybe they won’t get a raise this year. And it sounds ridiculous that we would do that to our own citizens. Yet that was the popular viewpoint for both political parties for a moment in time. And Breitbart was hearing people loud and clear, saying, “That’s a terrible idea.” And we got those voices out there.>>And what were your commentators saying? What were the comments like about immigration? When you guys would— when you would post these stories, what was the feedback?>>Well, the feedback is all— comment boards are traditionally pretty much a free-for-all. I submit Twitter. If anyone looks at my mentions or anyone else’s mentions on Twitter, it’s a— the internet can have a lot of color, shall we say, in terms of comments. But by and large, it was across the board that the immigration system in the country is not just broken, but it is—potentially the threat of an open border is pretty catastrophic. And the solution was not going to be just legalize the people who are here before we do any enforcement. So that would be—that’s the start. But one thing that’s very important to flag is in 2014, we actually were the first to report at Breitbart News with Brandon Darby, our Border/Cartel Chronicles director, we were the first ones to report on the squalor in these border camp facilities, these detention facilities. And they did make national news. They were played up on the Drudge Report; even the Huffington Post played them up. So this was not a new thing. So now we talk about kids in cages. Well, we’ve been reporting since 2014 at Breitbart News that there was a humanitarian crisis that was happening at our border. But when Barack Obama was president, yeah, it hit the media, but it wasn’t an obsession. There weren’t people who were talking about it the way you see— we’re talking about concentration camps. And these facilities were embarrassing, because there were people who were coming in quicker than they could get processed and quicker than we could erect new facilities for them to occupy. So there was—and this is where these Mylar blankets that look like tinfoil blankets. And we put up all the photos. And we’d been talking for at least half a decade as we’re having this conversation at Breitbart about how this is a humanitarian crisis, how these people, the migrants that are coming in, they’re— many of them are gaming the system, but that’s a part of it. The main problem is that we have, first of all, we had two political parties who, both of them like the idea of open borders. The Democrats like open borders because they see it as people will either come in and vote Democrat or their children will vote Democrat. The Republicans see it as, this is cheap labor, so we can keep our businesses going and we can undercut our own workers, essentially. We can either pay them less or hire cheaper workers, but we need that steady supply of labor streaming into the country. And so both political parties were out to lunch on this topic. … And so this is a crucial thing. And I think a lot of the discussion between 2008 and 2014 was building up towards that story. I don’t think that story surprised our audience at all when we were seeing the conditions, how terrible they were and really what was happening to the migrants, that they were part of a very dark industry; that there were American politicians that were part of it, but it was really the cartels that were the centerpiece of it. And our focus was on the cartels and trying to give— we publish—we’ve been publishing in Spanish some of this content for five years, because we want to give a voice for people who are victims in Mexico, victims of the cartels. We’ve been doing this. We’re never given credit for this at Breitbart because— but this is the thing we’re—and I’m not begging for credit what—I think that ship has sailed for a lot of the media at this point in time. But this—people want to know why we keep getting things right. This is why we keep getting things right: because we’re not looking at it through this super-lazy, simplistic prism of skin pigmentation. It’s not about that. There were victims of this industry, south of our border, that we think it is not a good thing to incentivize them to come into the country illegally. And we don’t think it’s good for Americans; we don’t think it’s good for— we’re empowering the cartels who are taking over Mexico and much of Central America. It’s a bad thing. And again, we can’t discuss this in the country at the moment without being called a racist, which is absurd.>>… You said earlier that you knew of the immigration issue, Andrew knew of the immigration issue because you grew up in California. There’s somebody else who grew up in California with you around this time, which is Stephen Miller. Can you give me a little context about—?>>So I’m one of the original Stephen Miller fans. And I like saying that. Stephen and I were contemporaries in West L.A., and Stephen had made a name for himself because he would call into local talk radio when he was in high school at Santa Monica High reporting on the bias in education, which is still a huge issue with our audience at Breitbart, is the, the left-of-center bias in our school system. And Stephen was trying to push back on it at Santa Monica High School. So I was a talk radio listener at the time, and Stephen was the most frequent guest on Larry Elder’s show, who’s an L.A. talk show host who now has, I think, a bigger national profile. And then Stephen and I both helped Larry out; I was his intern officially. I don’t know if that was Stephen’s title officially, but we both got close to Andrew at about the same time. So I didn’t know Stephen very well, but he was a local celebrity when he was in high school, and he was intellectually in a class by himself, and I spend some time with a lot of smart people, but in terms of political instincts and knowledge. And he also played a very long game. He’s a very hard worker, and he understands that he is— he wants to make a contribution for many decades in this country and—on the issues. And this was—he’s a unique person. And he was at the cutting edge not just of the education bias, but then when he got to Washington and was working for Jeff Sessions, And Sessions’ shop was the leaders of— they were the intellectual backbone of the immigration fight that took place within the Republican Party. It came from Jeff Sessions’ office. It came from Sen. Sessions himself, and Miller at his right hand, and some other great guys that were there in that shop.>>Gene Hamilton, a few others.>>Yeah, that name comes to mind. Garrett Murch is another name that comes to mind. But these were the guys who knew what was at stake with the open-borders push that was coming from the bipartisan Gang of Eight, for example. So when it was—let’s put it this way: When I got to Washington in, I guess it was 2012 or 2013, and Stephen Miller was already a leader on this issue, I was not at all surprised.>>… Let me ask you about a meeting that happens, I believe at the “Breitbart Embassy,” between Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon around this time period. You know what I’m talking about?>>Yeah. There were a handful. So I don’t know if I know the specific one, but we had a lot. Laura Ingraham was coming through around that time, Nigel Farage.>>Tell me about that time period.>>It was [an] exciting moment. There was huge energy because we knew the people were with us. We spent too many years talking to the people about this topic. There was too many people who understood. The cat was out of the bag that the open-borders movement was a movement on behalf of getting Democratic votes and helping Republican donors’ bottom line. It was not—the people did not want it. And we had the whole playing field to ourselves at Breitbart because—and Laura, of course, on talk radio. I’d been a Laura listener since I was a teenager, so— and she was a leader here as well. And so that was sort of the nexus. And Nigel was a big part of it with Brexit. And people understanding that unchecked immigration, which is—the current system with immigration right now in the country is—Ann Coulter had the best analogy for this, which is, it’s like the New England Patriots drafting the 100 people who live closest to the stadium in Foxboro, like you get a priority by living— it’s not that you’re 250 pounds and you run a 4.4 40 and you—you throw the ball on a beeline. No, that’s not how you get on the football field. You get on the football team by living in proximity to the stadium. It’s an absurd thing to do. And that’s how we’re choosing immigrants at this point. So obviously there should be something that changes. But no, that’s not what the Republican Party was putting forward an amnesty proposal. And Steve and Laura and Sessions’ office and Miller, they used this to—they seized the opportunity to expose the Republican Party for being what they were, and that was open-borders people who were protecting the interests of big business at the expense of the people. And so these meetings that would take place, a lot of it’s hashing out how to get it done, whether or not there needs to be a leadership change. Who are heroes and villains? Clearly the Republican establishment comes to mind. [House Majority Leader] Eric Cantor went down because of this issue for sure. This was a—his—Dave Brat was another precursor, like Palin, a precursor to Trump. Dave Brat, again, scholarly, mild-mannered, lovely human being, but he understood the immigration issue, and he talked about it relentlessly on the campaign trial and very calmly with a— with a backbone of facts and knowledge— zero racial animosity or anything like that. This was about what it means: Does the United States— are we entitled to have a border? And if we are, why aren’t we enforcing it? And—and if—why are we prioritizing— why are we setting as a policy importing competition for Americans who were struggling after 2008 and the financial crisis? And it was a very slow recovery after the financial crisis, which is another huge issue, for Steve in particular, but for all of us at Breitbart, that both parties let us down on that. And the banks getting a huge bailout—I still don’t believe— has anyone gone to jail for 2008? One person maybe? … And what’s happening to the people in the Midwest who lost all their businesses and lost their factories, lost manufacturing? And what replaced that? The opioids replaced that. So we’ve got an opioid crisis. There’s no jobs. And then—and we want to talk about keeping the border open and legalizing the people who are here illegally. If you think of it in those ways— I’m sure I’m oversimplifying it for some people, but if you think about it in those ways, it does sound ridiculous. And that was where Steve and Laura and Breitbart and Sessions and Dave Brat and others just went in and filled that void right away. And it was not that difficult to do.>>But you say it as though it was easy-peasy and that there was this huge force behind it. Ultimately they had the entire Republican establishment to go up against at the time.>>Sure. Sure.>>… They were talking about running a presidential candidate, and at one point Sessions’ name comes up.>>Sure, yeah. I don’t remember being a part of that conversation per se. But Sessions, again, he was the intellectual backbone in Washington of the America First movement. And that was—he is a mild-mannered guy and a polite guy, but he had the—he had the brain power to do it. … But it just seems like Steve and others understood the power of media. This is—we’re all Breitbartians at this point now. We all understand that without using the media and getting into the press, there’s no chance at having a lasting movement. So someone eventually was going to have to go out there and start making the case at a national level. So it doesn’t shock me that that was discussed. And Sessions would have been the smartest guy in the room. I don’t know if he would have been the one who would have sang to people, but it’s—we don’t— the point’s kind of moot now at this point.>>It is. And you know, it sort of speaks to another point of Bannon at that stage was looking for Lou Dobbs; he was looking for Sessions. There was this interest in obviously elevating this message to a wider audience.>>Yeah, that was the key: how to—how to elevate. And it was certainly with a media-savvy figure. That would be the way to do it. So when Trump came along, it was a no-brainer.>>… And just really quickly before we get out of this area and we’ll come back to immigration. The Senate bill in particular—how are your readers responding at that point to Gang of Eight?>>Yes, this was another one where just a— one of the most important moments in the history of Breitbart and in the history of the Republican Party was that the Republicans prioritizing a— not just Republicans prioritizing an amnesty bill, a bill that had amnesty, so, which is, you know, freedom to remain in the country and to essentially, without a doubt, becoming on some sort of pathway to citizenship before enforcement was to take place. And we’d gotten burned on that in the Reagan years. The one criticism that sort—that your rank-and-file Republican will have of Reagan in the year 2019 is that he did an amnesty promising enforcement, and we didn’t get it. So we weren’t going to make that mistake again. So—and they had to have known that in the Gang of Eight, which was led by Rubio and [Sen. John] McCain, as well as [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer and others. And so we were very skeptical there was going to be no support for amnesty until there was enforcement. And yet we were being told the exact opposite, that you’re going to get— you were going to get the enforcement. No one believed that at all. And the conservative media, I think, made a pretty big mistake of taking Rubio and McCain seriously, taking the Gang of Eight seriously. And this was—and so Fox was not good on the immigration issue at the time. Now they cover the immigration issue quite a bit, but, you know, we’re talking 2014 here. Not interested. They’re not covering it. They’re not covering those stories we had at Breitbart that I mentioned about the border facilities and the conditions down there, the humanitarian. They’re not covering it from a humanitarian angle; they’re not covering it from the angle of what’s happening to American families and to American communities. So they’re kind of opting out, putting Rubio out there front and center. He’s the guy advocating for amnesty, and the Republican Party, not interested. And the polling data backs this up. It’s right there for you. Consistently, they consider immigration the top issue, and this is not the way to solve it. It was a rejection of that 2012 RNC autopsy that says amnesty is necessary to win again. You’ll never win again without amnesty, was basically the position and—after Romney lost. And the thought was that, why should we listen to the people who just got their clocks cleaned last election and the election before? There was a huge reconsideration taking place about the credibility of what we were being told by the Republican establishment. And for them to fixate on amnesty, an amnesty bill, was a— it was—it was the nail in the coffin for the— for really the Bush-era GOP establishment, I think.>>And the group that we’ve been talking about saw that coming from a great distance.>>Almost instantly. And we knew this was going to be the one without— I can’t think of an exception, myself included, in that group who would have even batted an eye at going to the mat on this one. This was one where we really genuinely believed to our core, and we thought our readers were behind us, and our listeners, that this was about whether or not America is going to have a border ever or not. This is it. And so if you believe America’s going to ever have a border, this is one where you go all in, and you fight as hard as you can. And that’s what we did, and ended up being victorious.>>There was a lot at stake at the moment.>>A lot at stake, a lot at stake. So I mean, we were—at Breitbart, we were on— we were popular relative to conservative blogs, but we didn’t have nearly the profile we have now. So in terms of a, you know, a business decision that was— it was also very clear. But it was also the right thing to do. We—there’s—we’re open-minded about a lot, and I don’t think we’re nearly as hard right or far right as the media would like to portray us on issues like trade and war and things like that. We’re very pro-First Amendment, you know. But there’s—this is one where we’re— our worldview is very clear: The United States should have a border that is respected. And all countries are entitled to have a border. It’s not—sure, there’s an American exceptionalism component, but the same deal happened with Brexit where Breitbart was at the cutting edge of that as well because these were people, Brits, fighting for their sovereignty against unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who were making the decisions that changed their lives on a family-by-family basis, which is ridiculous, again. And so we were very much, we’re very consistent on this, that the—we believe in the nationalist mindset— zero to do with race. It has to do with—there’s two components when it comes to nationalism, and nothing has to do with race. Lumping it with white nationalism has been one of the greatest lies that we’ve seen. There’s no white component to it. It has to do with—it’s twofold— that America is an exceptional place with a unique set of values, among them E pluribus unum, “In God we trust,” liberty, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment. We’re not just some sort of geographic mass. And if people want to—we’re a set of values, and we can define where our border is. And so if you reject that, then essentially you’re rejecting the idea of America. So that’s the America component. But we also believe that strong nations make good neighbors, is a phrase that we’ve used a lot, and that the countries are better off governing themselves than having unelected bureaucrats in far-off lands tell them what to do. And so that’s it. It’s that simple. And that’s what we thought was at stake with this. This was a globalist project of keeping the borders open, and it was something that was an easy one to reject on every level for us. Let me pivot now to Trayvon, who we talked about a little bit before. But what I’m specifically interested in is— help us understand how Breitbart readers are watching the initial crime and then ultimately Obama’s response. So this is the connective tissue with everything. We’re always watching the media. It’s always the coverage of the coverage that matters most. And a lot of our—a lot of these situations are heartbreaks for the families as much as anyone else. But we’re trying to keep an eye on the media to see if they’re going to take something and they’re going to use it to prove a political narrative that they’ve already set. And that’s exactly what happened to a T with Trayvon. … But the—a young boy dies. It’s horrible. Shot, unarmed. Terrible. Walking around. He’s got a hoodie and Skittles, and all of that. But the media—the media immediately rushed to politicize it as a white person in a hate crime against a black person… And the—the George Zimmerman trial, I think, bears out— the fact that he was not convicted suggests that the media had misled the country from the start. And Barack Obama dove right in and sort of took the side of the media, that this was a hate crime of some sort. And it turned out not to be the case. Not to say that there aren’t hate crimes that don’t take place, but this is the boy who cried wolf. And we’re witnessing this in 100 times over in the era of Trump, where the default setting is “You are a racist; now prove you’re not a racist.” And Andrew Breitbart had been warning about this my entire life, as long as I’d been with Andrew. And when we do—we’re on SiriusXM for 38 hours a week, and one of the clips we play of Andrew— we play a lot of Andrew clips on the show, on my show, which is the morning show—I play clips of Andrew saying that them calling you a racist, the left calling you a racist is the most powerful tool they have. And so we’ve been warned about this, that this was going to happen, that we were going to— the media was going to twist and manipulate in order to portray what was really a local crime incident that was devastating for a particular family and community, was blown up into this national, if not international, referendum on racism in this country. And it was very—it didn’t work. If you look at the polling data going back to early 2000s, people’s perception of race relations was better than it is now. So—and we had a black president, and we reelected a black president now. And now the country is—and now the country— this is both whites and blacks—perceive race relations as more tense now than they were 20 years ago. How did we go backwards? I believe that this is how we went backwards, is that there were—this was the beginning of many, many news cycles that continue to this moment where people are falsely accused of racism simply because the media wants to set an agenda and a narrative. And what does it tell us about the division at the moment? It tells us that the division— I think the division is much more about the— I just think it comes from the media. I think the media foments it. And I think the media, the establishment press in particular, that they set narrative every day, and they’re not here to report the news for the most part. When it’s politically neutral, our media can be quite good. Local media, when they’re just trying to— when there’s no political angle. But when they can seize a political angle, this is a clear principle of the left. The left is always looking for political victory before all else. It’s a—it’s something that Andrew talked about routinely. It’s something that we talk about at Breitbart a lot, acknowledging that if there’s a political gain, there’s a political angle the left can take, they almost always take it. And the easiest one is to announce, at least at this moment, that someone is a racist and that there was some sort of a hate crime is taking place. And then I have to prove the impossible negative: that I’m not a racist. And it’s very challenging to do; it’s very tough to do. And the media has seen this trick. But thankfully, the people don’t buy it. Some of them do, but not all of them. Not enough of them to win all the elections. … Let me ask you about David Brat, because we started to talk a little bit about him. What I’m curious to know around this time period, because this is the moment of the midterms, is how Brat embodies the division also between some of the radio personalities, you all that we’ve sort of been talking about. His campaign in particular is getting early attention from national campaigns while a lot of folks are kind of just seeing this as such a long shot and kind of ignoring him. Yeah, and hats off to Breitbart on this one. I know that’s flattery, I guess, but hats off to Breitbart, and hats off to Laura Ingraham, who identified this as a potential race. But Eric Cantor was seen as a guy who— I’m not saying he’s a bad person; I’m just saying that he’s a creature of the swamp. He’s a guy who we perceived as doing the work of the Republican establishment and donor class and consultant class and the people who were, I think, failing in—to govern responsibly. And Brat seized on a lot of issues, but particularly the immigration issue. And Brat was great casting, because he’s a kind, smart, scholarly professor, looks good, speaks clearly, and is just the type of guy you want serving in Congress. He just is. And so there is a reason why I think his campaign caught on. There was a handful of upstart Tea Party-type candidates that never resonated with me personally, but Brat was an exception because he really had that— he had the—that presence that you look for if you’re going to get behind a candidate, which, you know, we weren’t behind him exactly, but we were very negative on that entire leadership of the Republican Party at the time. I know a lot of talk radio hosts who were seen as having very similar worldviews as Breitbart were very openly behind him. And he wins. He wins. Unbelievable moment. Tell me about the moment. I remember I was coming back—I was actually— I was on my honeymoon, and I was in the cab on the way back from the airport. And I was on the bridge heading just right by the Lincoln Memorial, and I heard he won. And I have to say, it was—it was a rare surprise. I’m rarely surprised, but it was a rare surprise that we knew was possible and we knew we’d done a lot of reporting on that race. But the race had really gotten nationalized on the immigration issue. And it had been—it was officially game on on that front where it was now—it was clear that the voter base was throwing out the Republican establishment’s ideas on immigration. That’s what that represented. And it was stunning. It was one of the biggest upsets in the history of American politics—there’s just no doubt about it— and we were right in the middle of it. Do you remember talking to Bannon around the time? Well, constantly. So it was—I mean, he was—he was a very active executive chairman at Breitbart, and he’s a very active boss. I don’t know if people are aware of the reputation that he had. So it was constant. And you know, Matt Boyle, our Washington political editor, was running point on that story. And Julia Hahn, who’s now in the White House, did a lot of work on that story. But we tracked every detail of it at—at Breitbart. So that was—it was something that we had it circled on the calendar for a long way out. But the discussions with Steve were routine at the time. I mean, I’m sure he was happy, but I don’t even remember. … The presidential announcement, the golden escalator: Take us there. Do you remember—do you remember, when in that speech immigration certainly is front and center, what you thought and what your readers thought? So I’m a front-page editor more than anything else. And I do a lot at Breitbart. I host radio, and I manage our team. But the thing that is the— the thing that is my identity the most is front-page editing. So I’m looking for those little lines, little moments that are just, wow. They give you a start; they give you a rush of energy. And when he started talking about that there were rapists and murderers coming over the border, that is the one where you know this is instantly going to be a 24/7 news cycle and that people are going to go crazy. And the one thing that I got to track at Breitbart that a lot of people in the establishment media I don’t think are used to is the sort of Rorschach-test stories. These are stories where the left has a very strong emotional reaction, and the right has a very strong emotional reaction that is going to be completely different. This was a perfect example when he starts talking about the rapists coming over the border. And he also says there are good people, too. He doesn’t say everyone is a rapist and murderer, but it’s, objectively, if you have an open border and you don’t know who’s coming through and they’re not presenting two forms of photo ID when they get here, there’s going to be some criminals. And we track them on a daily if not weekly basis at Breitbart. There are criminals that continue to come over the border. They get deported eight times, and they come back. So it’s just raw math, what he was talking about. So our audience at Breitbart, well aware of what he was saying was dead true. And the left, I knew, was not going to be able to handle it. So immediately I remember snapping into gear, thinking that this is going to be a mega news cycle, because we’d never seen someone speak this way. And the media tried to kill the campaign right there: “This is outrageous; how dare you say this; this is not serious; he’s making a mockery of our political process.” And the Breitbart audience? Maybe not all of them, but at least a solid third already, like on day one, are certainly going, “Oh, what’s going on here?” Here’s someone who’s saying something that is objectively true, and we’ve all been thinking it, that there are bad people, not just good people, some good people, but some bad people coming over the border. Why can’t we mention that? Why is that impolitic or impolite? And the last couple of guys who refused to mention such things, they keep losing. So I like this idea. And that was a huge moment, I think, politically, because the left just so overplayed their hand, and they set their tone that they continue to this day. … We just talked about the announcement in which most mainstream media here sent interns and kind of B-list talent to go cover it. Right, in the Huffington Post, it was in the entertainment section. It was a joke, right? It was a joke. You guys saw something really different. Totally different. And the reason why is because of what he was saying, not how he was saying it, though of course that was big, too. So briefly I’ll touch on that, the how. We were in an authentic moment, as it turned out. We wanted someone authentic because the guys who were so well put together and pieced together, the guys who were created almost like a Mr. Potato Head by the Republican donor base—I mean, you put the eye here and you put this particular nose and this particular hat, and then all of a sudden, or this particular hairstyle, and then we run them for office. People were getting hip to that, and they were looking for an excuse to get off of that train, and Trump was obviously a way to do that. We also have a very strange campaign finance system where you either have to know a bunch of billionaires or be able to self-fund in order to get yourself this sort of national recognition, and Trump already had that. So again, the how is relevant, but people overlook the what. He was talking about crucial issues. He was talking about, in particular, immigration, the number one issue. And the Republican Party ceded it to him; every last one of those candidates campaigned on increased legal immigration. … So the country wants neutral or decreasing immigration. One candidate went out there and said, “I want neutral or less immigration.” Everyone else said more immigration, even [Sen.] Ted Cruz. So who’s the boogeyman for the left? They all wanted more—so Trump’s up there, and there are 16, 17 other guys, and they’re all to the left of the public on this issue. And so Trump has that issue all to himself. Trade’s the next one. The Republican establishment took a beating in the Midwest for blowing it on trade. We were promised free trade. I was steeped in the same free trade literature as every sort of right-of-center young person was. And it looked so good on paper, but it turned out that free trade meant you take an American job, you send it overseas, and you pay the person less overseas, and a rising tide lifts all boats. But that’s not what happened. It’s our towns got gutted; our manufacturing— our manufacturing sector went away; opioids came in. And this was not a secret at this point. The media didn’t cover it very much, but we did at Breitbart. And these were those key swing states—Ohio, Michigan, I mean, Pennsylvania—these are the places that Trump was going to have to carry to take back from Obama to win, and those were the places that were hit hardest by globalization. So Trump is talking about trade; he’s got a leg up. Immigration, he’s got a leg up. So right there. Then the other biggest issue is his contempt for the media. And this is something where we think people think of this— and you know, we’re talking about a decade of division. People think of Trump as the instigator. I reject that premise completely. I think Trump is a reaction to the elite and the establishment press condescending to the American public, treating us as though we’re stupid; treating us as though we’re not entitled to full information; clearly selecting stories and presentation based off a political agenda and then telling us that this is neutral presentation of the news. And Trump was the biggest person—Palin did this, too, Andrew Breitbart did it, too, but Trump was the biggest person ever to make this a centerpiece. And he did it in a way that was also hilarious. I mean, it’s a—this is another one where the left totally misses it. His comedic timing is like a guy who’s been on television for 30 years. It’s the—and he’s consistently not given credit in public for this, but privately I have a lot of friends in Hollywood, liberals, and they say, “Oh, no, he’s funny”; like, he’s legitimately funny. He’s skilled in terms of his rhetoric. So he was roasting the media, and so we were all clapping our hands and jumping for joy because we thought, we believe, at least at Breitbart, I think across the board, that if we have a free press and we can actually flesh out the issues, we’ll come to some good conclusions as a people. We’re looking for—Andrew Breitbart had a motto, “More voices, not less,” which is grammatically very— I don’t think it makes sense, but you get the point. And I think the press tries to shut down certain arguments and positions, and Trump was cutting through that with a machete. And so that, plus the immigration, plus the trade. Now he can get to China where he was the only one calling out China. China is stealing our intellectual property, still doing it. China’s got a different agenda in terms of world domination than—than a lot of traditional powers. They’re not doing it militarily, though they’re doing that, too, a little bit with just South China Sea and some of these islands they’re building. But it’s economic. And you need to look no further than their One Belt, One Road initiative, where they’re trying to get the world dependent on, to be tributary states to China. That’s their goal. That’s how they’re going to take over. Trump’s the only one coming close to talking about this stuff. Rubio’s pretty good on it now, which is great. But again, all these issues, he’s ahead of people. He wrote about Iran in some of his books early on, another one where the base saw that as a major threat geopolitically. It’s—he talked about getting out of useless wars. A lot of us on the right felt very hoodwinked by the previous administrations keeping us in wars where we were promised that we would go into some of these places in the Middle East in particular, and we would kick butt, and then we would leave quickly. And then we did not kick butt and we stayed forever. And Trump was saying, “Well, I was skeptical the whole time, and I’m not going to do that to your boys and girls.” So this stuff, just killer issue after killer issue. And people only want to talk about his presentation, but he keeps getting the issues right. And that’s why he kept picking up support. At Breitbart, we did something called the Breitbart Primary heading into 2016 where people could vote, and we left it up for a very long time. And it was basically split most of the way, a third Trump, a third Cruz and a third everyone else, with Ben Carson probably being the most popular. So there was definitely an outsider bias. And I think Trump’s approval kept going up and up, not because of the crazy tweets—some of us like it; some of us don’t—but I think it’s actually the issues. And this is the point where people are— he’s never given credit for this, that he was fighting for the right issues almost across the board. Every idea he was putting out, every position he was putting out were wildly popular with the Republican voting base. … Let me ask you about Stephen Miller joining the Trump campaign. Do you remember when you heard that he had joined? … It was a great sign for the president, because I knew that Miller knew how Washington worked, and he was going to need those people if he was going to be effective. And he would need someone who does have that history ingrained in them and understands the way levers get pulled in Washington. And again, Miller is playing a longer game. He is the type of guy who wants to make an impact over a longer period of time, and you can’t do that just by being the bull in a china shop. So that’s Trump’s component; Trump gets to do that. But Miller could be someone who could help him navigate Washington and have at least someone— and of course the president is going to have a diverse set of viewpoints around him. It sounds like he did that even prior to being a politician. But then he was going to have one guy who did understand what the base was thinking, what they were interested in at his right hand. And so I thought that was great, a great choice by the president. Miller certainly knows that base incredibly well. As well as anyone who’s a Washington insider, absolutely. Let me ask you about a moment related to Megyn Kelly. So this is when Megyn Kelly attacks Trump at the debates. You all cover Megyn Kelly pretty aggressively. Very. Tell me a little bit about that. … Fox, who had—who was trying to take out candidate Trump, they wanted Marco Rubio to be the nominee, it appeared. I didn’t know Roger Ailes. Seemed like a brilliant guy. But it’s the—he was wrong on immigration, or Fox was wrong on immigration. They had been, and they were wrong about Rubio. And I think Rubio could become a great politician, but he was the poster boy for a cause that the base was really not pleased which, which is amnesty. And that was a—and Megyn Kelly was trying to take Donald Trump out, and that was what was the goal of her presentation and Fox’s presentation during that debate. And that is something where again another, maybe from a slightly different political perspective, but it’s the same thing where when the media tells the people how to think— this is what is the news; this is how you are to perceive the news; you will consume the news the way we tell you how to consume the news— it doesn’t work in this current moment. It’s too authentic of a moment. And I think that it backfired mightily. … And Fox will eventually throw its weight behind Trump. Eventually, yes. And yeah, I’m overall pretty happy with that. It’s kind of, I think, by virtue of the fact that Trump is a— he’s a big consumer of cable news, it’s a massive advantage that Fox has had. If you went through Fox’s lineup, which I know we’re not going to do, I think I like half the hosts; I don’t like half the hosts. It’s fine. I don’t watch a lot of cable news. I don’t consume it constantly. Sometimes they let me on Fox, which is very nice of them. I’m not really focused on them now. I know the president likes them very much. The president likes watching cable news. They’re the closest to his worldview. He’s rewarded them with a lot of access by being relatively fair to him. I—I don’t have much beyond that. All I know is that Fox, I think, really dropped the ball on immigration, and now they no longer have done that, and I give them credit for that. … Let me ask you about election night. Sure. The feeling of the base that night when the results come in—I mean, can you describe that energy? I think that if there’s any difference between Breitbart’s audience and other audiences is I don’t think the sense of surprise was—was very palpable. I think that most people who read Breitbart thought Trump was going to win. I think a lot of that is because, needless to say, there’s more positive Trump coverage than there was of Hillary Clinton. There was much more negative Hillary Clinton coverage than there was of Trump; there’s no doubt about it. And I—I hope the folks at CNN are taking note that I admit such things because they—they don’t. But the—the—I think that when you looked at— there was a couple things we were tracking. We—a lot of people predicted there would be a Bradley effect or a—we call it now sort of a Trump effect, where people were not talking to the pollsters because there already was this sense that it was shameful to support Donald Trump and to vote for Trump. So we thought that the polls were probably going to not be what we were told. And it’s always tough to predict the polls, because polls are often quite good, but it was— there was a sense that the polls were not to be trusted because it was considered so vile to certain people to admit you support Trump, and that was going to affect not how people voted but how people talked to pollsters. So we knew that was a factor. We’d also spent a fair bit of time in the Midwest, talked to a lot of people in the Midwest. We have national radio shows where we get a lot of callers that happen to be from a lot of these swing states. And the energy, the rallies, the signs, there was so much enthusiasm that is— Hillary Clinton couldn’t do that in— she couldn’t get the enthusiasm in 100 rallies that Trump would get at one. And that’s not nothing. Maybe that’s not enough to get enough people to the polls, but it certainly counts for something. … I’m trying to give this objectively— I’m an editor at Breitbart, so I know it’s tough to do— but I do think that if you look at the issues case by case, people greatly concerned about the never-ending wars, it’s a—the direction of the economy, the border being open, immigration and quote/unquote “free trade” ravishing Middle America, and Trump was clearly the superior candidate on that stuff. And that was what it was going to come down to, I thought. And people wanted to make it about the Access Hollywood tape, but it was— I didn’t think it was going to be that way, and I don’t think our readers did either. So on election night, I think that they were pleased. Breitbart readers, of course, were very pleased, but I do think that they couldn’t picture— because remember, the Breitbart audience, they think of Hillary and Bill Clinton as criminals. … So they’d been reading that stuff for years. So for them, the thought of Hillary Clinton getting sent to the White House with her record was also hard to believe. So Trump, as a sort of a callous guy who’s very mean publicly to people, that’s one thing. But to have someone who is perceived as a criminal and a— with her husband, who is perceived as a sexual offender, get voted into the White House, that was pretty far-fetched, too. So I think people on election night were very pleased in Breitbartland. For me, it was a very long work night, so I don’t remember having a ton of emotions; it was more about getting the work done. Election nights are very busy in the news world. But it was exciting. It really set in for me when I got on radio at 6:00 a.m., on our SiriusXM station, and that was—that was something. I’d spoken to the president on air when— on Election Day, which was interesting. He sounded upbeat, and—but it was hard to picture a 24 hours—that was 24 hours ago when you walk in, and then you’re now talking about a whole new America. But then the riots started happening right away. There’s violence that night, so, which was new. This was America. Typically we don’t—we haven’t had violence on election nights in the past; that happened. We had violence on Inauguration Day. So the division was there. … Let me ask you, jumping back and then also forward to healthcare for a moment. So when Trump decides to do health care first, mostly because he’s guided by some establishment figures, [Speaker of the House] Paul Ryan and others who said we’ve been talking about this for a decade; we’ve got a plan; we’re going to do it. And he’s really expecting it to be on the desk in many ways. It’s a big turning point. Huge turning point. And it was—it really—it hobbled the president and his first administration in many ways. It was the biggest mistake that he’s made, without a doubt, is starting with health care. Health care was always going to be one of the toughest issues for Republicans. It’s one of the few issues where I think the average voter favors the Democratic position, not the delivery mechanism or the way the media spins the position, but the actual position. If you look at it down the line, it’s a tough issue for Republicans in general. Trusting the Republican establishment to take on a Herculean task like that as the first move, when the president campaigned on immigration and trade and getting us out of wars and tax cuts and stuff like that, the first move, health care, was— it was—it was a blunder, I think. It would have gone through if not for John McCain, and it feels like John McCain did have a personal part of the—what informed his vote was a personal animosity to the president, which is unfortunate. But it was a really risky task, and it was an effort— I see the logic behind it. I think the president wanted to co-opt the establishment. If he passes a big thing with the establishment to kick off his administration, then it’s his party and there’s no denying him. And this is one of the strategies that Democrats have had throughout the first Trump administration, throughout his administration, is they don’t want to legitimatize him by working with him on anything. There’s very few bipartisan legislation— pieces of legislation they’d even consider. I think the president had the mindset that we’re going to get the establishment on our side by working with them on an issue they’ve been thinking about. And you’re correct to note that they should have had some sort of Obamacare repeal or replace or some combination push-button ready. This was Paul Ryan’s thing, the genius wunderkind Paul Ryan. This was supposed to be his issue. This was supposed to be his life’s work. He was supposed to be able to know how to fix Obamacare. And so he’s the speaker of the House, and the president comes in, and what do you got, something that can’t pass? And I didn’t even—I don’t remember the details of the proposed legislation, but I know that we were skeptical of a lot of parts of it in Breitbartland at the start, and some parts of it thought looked pretty weak. But again, it’s a really tough task. And it was a mistake I think to take that on first instead of starting with immigration. And really at that point he kind of looks at the establishment and decides, I’m going out on my own. Yes. Help me understand that. Well, I think that that was the whole—the establishment, I think at the—when he was elected, I think the mindset was, well, OK, work with us on this one, and then we’ll get your back later. And then—so he did work with them on health care, and it failed for whatever reason. There are many reasons, but it didn’t go through. So he’s—probably he’s been a politician for five minutes, and the first four and a half minutes, everything is going great when he’s going with his own instincts, and then he goes with the corrupt, feckless Republican establishment instincts for the first couple months of his presidency, and it backfires. So this is, what other conclusion could he draw other than now it’s time to try some stuff on my own? … He pivots to cultural issues a bit. He wades into the NFL kneeling story. Can you help me understand what’s the value? So the value is that—there is at least the sense from our audience, there is a value, there is a sense that the left and the right a decade or two ago, there was a sense that we all wanted the same exact things for our country; we all had the same lofty hopes and dreams for our country and incredible belief in American exceptionalism. We just had different—slightly different routes to get there. This is sort of the Reagan/Tip O’Neill-type thinking, that we all want the same thing; we just have different ways of getting to that point, and that there’s a sense that the Democratic Party, there is a creeping leftism that really did not like this country very much. And people wanted to frame some of these NFL protests as just about police brutality. That really wasn’t what it is. It was about disdain for our flag and law enforcement and contempt for America. And this was a lot of people on the left were using this opportunity I think to air grievances about the country and about the president. And really I think it was a—something that was backed up by a lot of the rhetoric that’s gotten just further and further left, where we’re now erasing statues of [not] just Confederate war heroes, but now we’re painting over George Washington murals, and we’re not celebrating Thomas Jefferson anymore. And all of a sudden you start realizing that oh, it’s not that these people don’t like police brutality; no one likes police brutality. They don’t like this country, and that’s why they’re kneeling for our flag. And so that’s why I think the president’s instinct was to defend the country. And I think that that’s—now we’re seeing so many mainstream politicians make it their business day to day to explain that America was created in sin and it’s really not a great place. What kind of a country puts people in concentration camps? That is mainstream position now in the United States. If you genuinely believe that we’re putting people in concentration camps, how can you believe this is a good country? A good country wouldn’t put people in concentration camps. Of course we’re not putting people in concentration camps. People are voluntarily coming here illegally, and we’re housing them in facilities that are less than ideal but are in some cases perhaps even better than from where these people came from. But it is—the rhetoric about the United States is that we are an inherently racist place that has racist cops and a racist president, and half the country is racist. And this was creeping into the culture in a major way. And I think the president, who goes off of instinct, saw that, and that’s why he got involved here. Let me ask you about Charlottesville, because we kind of just talked about it. But specifically, when he says there are “bad people” on both sides and he doesn’t back down, give me a sense of, again, your readers and how they’re viewing him in that statement. So I’ve got the—I’ve got the benefit personally of having a three-hour national radio show, so I get to play the full context. And so I got to play the entirety of the Trump Tower press conference that day where the president says about 60, maybe 75 seconds after “there are good people on both sides,” “not the neo-Nazis, not the white nationalists; they should be condemned totally or completely; they should be condemned completely.” That’s the direct quote. It’s less than a minute later. You’re not getting that in a Joe Biden campaign video or on a CNN clip, though I do think at least one CNN anchor did acknowledge this, maybe even two. You’re not getting this in the establishment media. They’re focusing on “good people on both sides,” smash cut to a clip of the racists with the tiki torches, and you’re all set; you’ve got your narrative. And the media just rode that. But again, the public, particularly the people who support the president, know that the president is not a racist. And if he was a racist, then he’s the least effective racist in the history of the country, because we’ve got record low unemployment rates for lots of minority groups, almost all minority groups in this country. And he’s got people of diverse backgrounds in his administration, etc. And no one actually believes that he’s some sort of a closet racist. He was more popular with minorities than he was with whites when he was a TV star. So if all of a sudden rappers are rapping about him, now all of a sudden he’s a racist, I don’t think anyone really bought in to that, but they used the “good people on both sides”; the left and the media all took it as an opportunity to declare this guy is a Nazi, and now we’ve got the proof. Now, don’t bother to look at the next minute and a half of tape, where he directly condemns Nazis and white nationalists. But they can easily cut that out and edit whatever they want to edit. And this is again why the Trump presidency is about— has been about the president versus the media. If the media was responsible and if the media really wanted the division to stop, they would point out: “Can we please stop saying this? Joe Biden, will you please stop saying that the president is some sort of a white nationalist who supports— who said there were good neo-Nazis?” He did not say that. He specifically condemned neo-Nazis and white nationalists that day, one minute after he said there were good people on both sides. So at Breitbart, I get to play the context. I played it 50 times on our radio show. So our audience gets it. And they watch the media, and they go: “Why aren’t they playing the full context? Oh, yeah, because they hate this president.” … Let’s jump now to “zero tolerance.” … Help me understand what the policy personally means to Sessions and how the base responds to the announcement. Help me a little bit. What is your concept and then I can maybe react to it? This is sort of the May announcement at the border that Sessions gives where: “We are going to enforce the laws that are on the books. This is how we’re going to do it. Subsequently families are going to be separated. But this is the new policy, and this is the policy of this administration.” Yeah, the family separation policy has always been very, very tricky, and I don’t think anyone fully, at least publicly in the media really gets it. I haven’t heard anyone really articulate it particularly well. … A lot of the time there is complications in that these aren’t necessarily actual families. And we don’t know because we don’t—people aren’t identifying themselves accurately when they get here. And we know this because there were children who come up with different families from time to time. And we know that this is all part of this cartel network that is getting people via the coyotes into the country. And so it is one of these things where we want to process people. And we don’t—I don’t think anyone wants families to be separated, but they’re separated because we don’t want the children to be, I think, or at least the administration’s position is, you want to protect the children from potential other criminals. And their rules about detaining the children are different and less stringent than detaining the adults. So I don’t think anyone likes this concept. But I do think that it is a symptom of a completely broken immigration system where we have an open border where people are incentivized to come illegally. The cartels are—have been able to create an entire industry taking advantage of this system, and both political parties feel like they can leverage some sort of gain out of it. So this is one of the most complicated ones, period. And I don’t really see a lot of people coming up with solutions that the other side can fathom, because the right, we think if we had a wall, this would be problem solved. This would be—then people would stop coming, and then there would be no more families separated. And the left thinks that the solution by and large is open up the borders. Let everyone come into the country, where we know that even if they get a permission to enter the country and then a court date where they’re supposed to appear in court, then they’re not going to show up… they just enter the country and stay indefinitely. And this is—that’s open borders. There’s no difference other than that practically speaking. So what is it? What is the proposal? The right wants the wall; the left essentially wants open borders. And that is the mainstream position on both sides. And I don’t see where they’re going to come to a middle ground at this point. It’s very tough to do, to find something in the middle, especially now we’ve also got, what Sessions tried to do, he tried to build something called what we know as “a wall of judges,” where the judges would be processing people quickly. So then the family separations would be kept more at a minimum because people would be getting deported essentially. Their cases would get evaluated. They would not qualify for asylum, by and large, and then they would have to leave the country and get in line if they would like to be an immigrant. But this is not quite as easy as it sounds. But there are rules that people can’t be detained forever. And so then what happens if they can’t be detained forever and they haven’t got to the front of the line to see a judge? They get the notice to appear in court, and they go in the United States, and we never hear from them again. So wildly complicated. No one wants families separated; that’s crystal clear. But it is not as simple as the bumper sticker saying “President Separating Families.” … Let me ask you about the caravan ahead of the midterms. That’s a story you guys cover heavily. Many caravans over many years. This one, people were fixated on it. Again, the division that we keep talking about, the left sees it as showing these are very— these are victims who are all victims of the oppressive United States who won’t let them in and that they deserve to be treated with some sort of priorities, maybe free health care, in-state tuition, and though on the right, we think of them, they should be— they come to the United States, they should be treated with some dignity. We don’t want decrepit facilities for people; we want people to be treated with respect that get here. But we see this as contributing to this cartel industry that— where the most evil people on planet earth, people who are part of these cartels who are ultraviolent. They are—they sexually assault women constantly across the board. They pay off politicians. They’re incredibly corrupt. And they’re in control of this process that gets people up into the United States where then— not to mention they’re the same people that are part of the drug trade; they’re part of illegal weapons trade. And from a humanitarian perspective, anything that empowers the cartels is evil. And we think that the main victims of the cartels, not just the American people who are of course victimized here, but actually a lot of these migrants. So we’ve been reporting on this at Breitbart for many years. And one cartel comes after the next. Clear patterns. When the weather is just right, not when it’s super-cold, certainly not when it’s super-hot. The patterns are seasonal. It’s fairly easy to track. And it’s not people marching; it’s people— they get fresh clothes; they get fresh water; they get buses in many cases. And this one got a lot of media attention because both sides seized on it. The right showed it as an example of, this is clearly not a way to run a country where people can literally race through abandoned checkpoints. We have videos of people running, people scaling walls. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. People outflanking the walls, going through porous portions of the walls— that’s obviously not very good. And the left believes that it is only out of our callousness and cruelty that we don’t welcome people in with open arms, no matter who they are. And that’s the division.

3 thoughts on “Zero Tolerance: Alex Marlow Interview | FRONTLINE

  • This interview was conducted with FRONTLINE during the making of our documentary “Zero Tolerance.” Watch the full film, here:

  • This guy is annoying & intolerable. Palin's whole being dumb as a rock was TRUE! And this little history twister can't play Mr.Smarty pants when he calls Sara Palin some sort of genius. Fucq outta here

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