Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said he doesn't agree with President Donald Trump's decision to end the DACA program and blasted the Catholic Church's support for undocumented immigrants because “they need illegal aliens to fill the churches.”
“The Catholic Church has been terrible about this. The bishops have been terrible about this. By the way, you know why. You know why. Because [they’re] unable to really — to come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens,” Bannon told CBS’ Charlie Rose in an interview, excerpts of which were broadcast Thursday on “CBS This Morning.” “They need illegal aliens to fill the churches. It's obvious on the face of it. … They have an economic interest. They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.”
Bannon told Rose that he disagreed with Trump’s decision this week to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors. But he also expressed empathy for the president, who said he struggled with what to do about the so-called Dreamers who enrolled in DACA and whom Trump had pledged to treat with “great heart.”
“Look what he did on DACA the other day. OK, I don't agree with that DACA decision, but I understand how he struggled with it. I understand how he's giving a possibility of a legislative thing,” Bannon said in his interview, which will be broadcast Sunday night on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “And he said even last night in a tweet, even a tweet, he would rethink it. Trust me, the guys on the far right, the guys on the conservative side, are not happy with this.”
Among those who have voiced their opposition to Trump’s DACA decision is New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who said on Sirius XM radio this week that Trump’s decision had turned Dreamers into “political hockey pucks” and that ending the program “is certainly not Christian, and I would contend it’s not American.”
Bannon, who is Catholic, joined Trump’s presidential campaign in August 2016, from Breitbart, an online media outlet that Bannon has characterized as “the platform for the alt-right.” He has often been called a major influence on the president’s “America First” policies and has been a lightning rod for critics of the Trump administration.
The former White House strategist told Rose that while he respects his church’s leaders on doctrine, their positions on immigration policy hold no more weight than those of any other person.
“As much as I respect Cardinal Dolan and the bishops on doctrine, this is not doctrine. This is not doctrine at all. I totally respect the pope, and I totally respect the Catholic bishops and cardinals on doctrine. This is not about doctrine,” Bannon said. “This is about the sovereignty of a nation. And in that regard, they're just another guy with an opinion.”