WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday reacted to the arrest of Steve Bannon, who once served as one of the president’s closest advisors.
“I haven’t been dealing with him for a long period of time as most of the people in the room know,” Trump told reporters. “He was involved in our campaign. He worked for a lot of companies, but he was involved likewise in our campaign and for a small part of the administration, very early on. I haven’t been dealing with him at all.”
Bannon and three other individuals, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shaw, were arrested early Thursday on charges that they had “orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of dollars” in connection with the “We Build The Wall” online fundraising campaign.
Authorities allege the foursome used hundreds of thousands of dollars from a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $25 million to build a wall along the U.S. southern border for their own purposes.
“I know nothing about the project other than I didn’t like when I read about it, I didn’t like it,” Trump said. “I said this is for government, this isn’t for private people. It sounded to me like showboating. I think I let my opinion be very strongly stated at the time I didn’t like it. It was showboating and maybe looking for funds…I don’t know that he was in charge. I don’t know any of the other people either.”
“I don’t think that should be a privately financed wall,” the president added. “It’s too complex and too big.
When asked by reporters about others from his 2016 presidential campaign who have since been arrested and convicted, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, campaign manager Paul Manafort, attorney Michael Cohen and confidant Roger Stone, Trump lashed back.
“They spied on our campaign illegally and if you look at all of the things and all of the scandals they had, they had tremendous lawlessness.”