Steve Bannon reportedly called House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) “a limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation,” referring to the think tank whose fiscal conservative policies the representative espouses.
The detail is one of many bizarre nuggets in Devil’s Bargain, a new book on White House chief strategist Bannon’s role in President Donald Trump’s political rise, by Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Joshua Green, who has extensively covered the former Breitbart chairman.
Green wrote that Bannon’s comment on Ryan came during the spring of 2016, when it became increasingly possible that Trump would become the GOP presidential nominee, to the surprise and concern of establishment Republicans. Some of them had floated Ryan as a possible alternative if the party’s convention were to become contested.
“One fleetingly popular scenario to stop Trump from becoming the nominee was for GOP delegates to coalesce around a white-knight alternative at the party convention in July,” Green wrote, noting that Ryan had “emerged as the chattering-class favorite.”
This development, according to Green, “sent Bannon into a panic of his own” and the Breitbart chairman who later that summer would lead Trump’s campaign, began “plotting an all-out war to stop Ryan, of whom he was both fearful and dismissive — sometimes within the same sentence.”
While heading Breitbart, the conservative news site that frequently espouses white nationalist views, Bannon had long considered establishment Republicans enemies. One of the site’s reporters, Julia Hahn — now a White House staffer — often wrote pieces critical of Ryan.
Ryan’s office did not return a request for comment.
CORRECTION: Due to an editorial error, an earlier version of this article referred to Paul Ryan as a senator. He is in the House of Representatives.