While speaking to a group of Black business leaders, Steve Bannon expressed that he understands the problems they face in growing their businesses, and believes his political agenda can help solve them.
“Minority entrepreneurs are the biggest customers of community banks,” he said. “And you know why they didn’t get recapitalized? Because nobody cares. When it comes time to make the deals, you’re not in the room.”
The Breitbart News chief, and former White House chief strategist, was part of a roundtable discussion with dozens of Black business leaders from the Carolinas and Georgia. It was sponsored by the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce and was closed to all media except the Associated Press.
Stephen Gilchrist, who is the Chamber Chairman says he considers Bannon a friend. “This administration has an opportunity to engage a new constituency, and show them what policy really means,” Gilchrist told AP, prior to the event.
Bannon was warmly welcomed by the group and got an “Amen!” when he spoke of his concept of “economic nationalism,” which he emphasized has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. Instead, he says, it’s about policies that advance opportunities for all American citizens.
Bannon said that, in terms of the Black community, this means stronger community banks on which so many minority-owned businesses rely on. These banks, he argued, don’t get the same bailout options that the big banks get when the economy experiences downturn.
“When it comes time to make the deals, you’re not in the room,” Bannon said, adding that big banks “got a piece of the action.”
“Isn’t it time for your piece?” he asked.
Vareva Harris of Benedict College, which is a historically Black college in Columbia asked Bannon which other candidates they should be supporting in order to have a bigger voice in Washington.
“President Trump said, to Black people, ‘vote for me, what do you have to lose?’” Harris queried. “That’s what we’re waiting for. Who else do we need to put there? Just tell us, and we’ll get them there.”
“I’m right here!” gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton, said from the corner of the room.
Later on Friday evening, Templeton introduced Bannon at a dinner at The Citadel. He was there to receive an award from The Citadel Republican Society.