Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The only person grabbing headlines as often as Trump these days is Steve Bannon, who quietly advised Trump during the campaign and now serves as the White House Chief Strategist.

While some of the many accusations and theories about him may be true, there's more to the story. Unlike SNL's comedic depiction of him as a soulless skeleton, Bannon's long-formed, nuanced and highly controversial beliefs make him a far more complex character. Here's some surprising facts about Steve Bannon...

  • He grew up Democrat: His Catholic family from Norfolk, VA were Democrats. Bannon told Bloomberg Businessweek in 2015, "I wasn't political until I got into the service and saw how badly Jimmy Carter f---ed things up. I became a huge Reagan admirer."
  • 2016 wasn't his first time running (and winning) a populist campaign: In his junior year at Virginia Tech (1975), Bannon ran for student body president against a student government veteran and favored winner. His fliers accused his opponents of only running on "Platitudes, Promises and Slogans," according to WaPo. He and his female running mate (radical at the time) won by more than 60% of the vote.
  • His old military friends say: Although he served in battle groups stationed in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf and went on to work at the Pentagon, "He said he joined the Navy so it would look good on his résumé because he wanted to go into politics someday," Mr. Mickle, a retired defense contractor, told the NYT.
  • He was a ball hog: While on the ship, Bannon played basketball, but preferred to handle the ball himself instead of passing to his teammates, which earned him the nickname "Coast-to-Coast," a shipmate told the NYT.
  • He's obsessed with military history: Jonathan Swan of Axios says Bannon loves to talk about military history and is close to hawks like John Bolton. Bannon also loves to read history books, according to WaPo.
  • Why he worked on Wall Street in the mid to late 80s:
"Goldman Sachs represented excellence and meritocracy. It didn't matter where you came from, it didn't matter what school you went to, what your religion was or what was your ethnicity. It just mattered how hard you worked, how smart you were, and how good a banker you were for your clients.
It was really like joining the Jesuits. This seems antiquated today, it was before the financialization, it was before all these quants and mathematicians really came to Wall Street." — Steve Bannon in an interview for the French documentary, "Goldman Sachs: The Bank That Runs The World."
  • He got rich on Seinfeld: Bannon left Goldman Sachs to start his own investment bank. He struck gold when he invested in the then-obscure show, Seinfeld.
  • Meanwhile, he worked on Biosphere 2: He was hired by a rich investor in Texas to help keep costs low on the space exploration experiment in the Arizona desert. It was an experiment on human's abilities to survive in closed ecosystems. A scientist who was there told the Washington Post that Bannon once drove up to the site in a limo accompanied by law enforcement and a court order, giving him total control of the program.
  • After Goldman and before Breitbart: Bannon was a Hollywood film producer for roughly 10 years. He's made several right-wing films, including a documentary on Sarah Palin, and, just last year, a documentary starring Duck Dynasty's Si Robertson.
  • He wrote a rap musical before Hamilton: His Hollywood writing partner, Julia Jones, told the Daily Beast that Bannon once wrote a hip-hop musical set during the L.A. riots, based on a more obscure Shakespearian play, Coriolanus.
  • His obsession with Ronald Reagan brought him to Breitbart: It was while working on a documentary on Ronald Reagan that Bannon first met Andrew Breitbart.
  • He's friends with both political parties: Jonathan Swan says that at Breitbart, Bannon would talk positively about Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. He's open to alliances with the far left if it suits his disruptive agenda.
  • And hates both parties: At the same time, Bannon thinks the two-party system is fundamentally corrupt. Bannon has said in an interview that he wants to "destroy the state."
  • His daughter went to West Point: Although at first he was enthused, when he visited the campus, he was disgusted by the lack of elites represented, according to NYT, because it's the elite who pass policies that sent young Americans to war.
  • Is he a white supremacist? His friends, including Julia Jones, an African-American former Goldman Sachs coworker and friend and his brother, Mike Bannon, all told the NYT it wasn't true. Steve Bannon himself has said:
"I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist."

Go deeper

Fed revamps rules for officials, restricts trades after controversies

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve on Thursday announced significant changes to its rules regulating officials' financial activities following controversy last month over some officials' past trading practices.

Why it matters: The rule revamp is a coda on the biggest scandal to hit the Fed in recent memory.

Texas urges Supreme Court to leave abortion ban in place

Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to keep in place a law that bans abortions after an embryo's cardiac activity is detected, which can be as soon as six weeks and before many people know they are pregnant.

Driving the news: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking the high court to ignore the Justice Department's emergency request that they temporarily block the law while federal courts consider its constitutionality since it "lacks standing because it has not been injured by SB 8."

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Meme stonks lose their appeal to the world of crypto

Data: Cardify; Chart: Axios Visuals

That sucking sound you hear is the outflow of meme-chasing dollars from the stock market.

Why it matters: The caravan has moved on. The dream of getting rich quick still lives, but today it's more often found in the world of crypto, NFTs or even sports betting than it is in the stock market.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!