Steve Bannon courts Wall Street and business leaders as he pushes his pro-Trump message for the midterms

  • Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is trying to appeal to Wall Street and big business as he unveils his new pro-Trump political operation during the final stretch of the midterm election campaign.
  • Bannon's pitch to voters and executives is that Democratic majorities in Congress would roll back the administration's economic initiatives.
  • Bannon told CNBC that his goal is to target approximately 40 districts around the country, but he declined to name the districts.
Stephen Bannon 
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Stephen Bannon 

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is trying to appeal to Wall Street and big business as he unveils his new pro-Trump political operation during the final stretch of the midterm election campaign.

The outspoken economic nationalist told CNBC on Thursday that his group, Citizens of the American Republic, is planning to push the idea that a vote for Democrats is a vote against what he describes as President Donald Trump's "reorientation of the global economic supply chain."

"One of our goals is to let the investment community and Wall Street community know that we aren't the wolf at the door," said Bannon, who steered the Trump campaign during the last leg of the 2016 election. "The wolf at the door is Democratic socialism."

Bannon's pitch to voters and business leaders is that Democratic majorities in Congress would roll back the administration's economic initiatives.

"It's been more than tax cuts. It's been a complete reorientation of the American economy and of the global supply chain," Bannon said. "The Trump economic program is disruptive and innovative, and people should be worried that Democrats will try to roll back the tax cuts. It will all come to a crashing halt if Democrats are elected."

CNBC reported in June that Bannon, who fell out of grace with Trump in January but continued to press the president's agenda, was preparing for a comeback. The effort would include calling on his allies to record advertisements in support of the president's agenda and the creation of a war room.

Bannon said his objective is to target approximately 40 congressional districts around the country, but he declined to name the districts. He will work with the help of longtime pollster and former advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Pat Caddell, along with John McLaughlin, a fellow consultant and pollster who boasts past clients such as former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

A spokeswoman for McLaughlin did not return requests for comment.

Patrick Caddell 
Gage Skidmore 
Patrick Caddell 

Caddell said he will be acting as an advisor to Citizens of the American Republic. He said the group would try to determine whether this year's elections will follow historical standards or be driven more explicitly by questions of national identity.

"We need to go in depth to find out whether or not there is a new paradigm to have in the midterms," Caddell said. "Is this going to be a normal midterm about how the opposition party are going to win in a district-by-district basis? Or can we have a different kind of situation, which nationalizes the election on different grounds?"

Bannon said he is also working with three other conservative nonprofit organizations: FreedomWorks, American Majority Action and the Tea Party Patriots.

Along with opposition research and having his surrogates record ads, his team will also be hosting rallies around the release date of his new pro-Trump film, "Trump @ War," which is set to premiere Sept. 9 in New York.

Since Bannon's operation is a nonprofit 501(c)(4), he does not have to publicly disclose who his donors are.

However, he did tell CNBC that the group's supporters have hawkish views on China.

"We have large donors and many of them are the savviest investors in the country that understand what's at stake here. They are all hawks on China, and we are the center of China hawks," he said.

Both inside and outside the administration, Bannon has been a fierce critic of Chinese trade practices and in turn has backed the president implementing tariffs.

Recently, Trump imposed a 25 percent import tariff on another $16 billion worth of Chinese goods, which will start Aug. 23. This would be the second round of tariffs following an initial onslaught of $34 billion on Chinese products in July.

The White House, meanwhile, is set to reopen trade negotiations with China on Aug. 22 and 23, a source told CNBC.

Bannon, who left the White House a year ago, incurred Trump's wrath in January, when Michael Wolff's tell-all book "Fire and Fury" was published. In the book, Bannon is quoted as saying harsh things about Trump's adult children Ivanka and Donald Jr.

— CNBC's Kayla Tausche contributed to this report.

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