Former White House Strategist Steve Bannon Meets with Black Leaders
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 11/13/2017, 5:38 p.m.
Some of South Carolina’s business leaders hosted a discussion with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and a top primary challenger to Gov. Henry McMaster. The South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce reports that Catherine Templeton and Bannon participated in a round-table event in Charleston Friday with several dozen Black business leaders from across the state. The event was closed to media. Bannon said that he understands the frustration they and others might feel at not being able to grow their businesses. “Minority entrepreneurs are the biggest customers of community banks,” Bannon 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.” Bannon got a warm welcome from the group, getting a resounding “Amen!” from members when he explained that his concept of “economic nationalism” has nothing to do with ethnicity or race but rather for policies that advance opportunities for its citizens. For the Black community, Bannon said, that means strengthening the community banks on which he said many minority-owned businesses rely. Those institutions, he said, didn't get the same bailout opportunities as bigger banks did following the economic downturn several years ago. “When it comes time to make the deals, you're not in the room,” he said, adding that big banks “got a piece of the action. Isn't it time for your piece?” Saying she and other Black voters had trusted Trump when he told them he would support their communities, Vareva Harris of Benedict College — a historically Black school in Columbia — asked Bannon what other candidates they should support to have a voice in government. “President Trump said to Black people, 'vote for me, what do you have to lose?’” Harris asked. “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, who also addressed the group, spoke up from a corner of the room.