Kelly said her sources are telling her Bannon is the “Trump Whisperer” and will actually be the guy in charge. She said she did not know what that meant for Priebus, speculating that maybe Trump felt he needed someone who knows how to work the Hill, and could make staffing calls.
Bannon advised Trump’s campaign well, and “completely understands these working-class Americans who have had it with Washington,” she explained of his new role in a Trump administration.
When Stephanopoulos asked how she would answer critics who say the appointment of the former Breitbart exec chairman means Trump has brought a “white supremacist” into the White House, Kelly countered she “did not know there is evidence of that.”
Kelly did go so far as to agree Breitbart’s headlines are sometimes “absolutely controversial,” but noted Bannon’s defenders say he is not responsible for every single headline that went up while he was exec chairman. Stephanopoulos did not weigh in on that.
Kelly continued: The site is known to be provocative, and is looking for clicks, she said. It definitely appeals to a segment of the alt-right which, she acknowledged, includes “some white supremacists.”
But, she added, “I don’t know if you can tar the entire team with that brush, or Steve Bannon with that brush.”
Maybe not coincidentally, Kelly’s interview on GMA comes one week after Kelly guest-hosted Disney/ABC’s Live With Kelly to talk about previous night’s stunning Trump win, which brought Kelly Ripa’s show its best ratings since Michael Strahan’s dramatic exit from the program. The 3.5 rating/9 share put it on top of the syndicated show pile, trumping heavyweights Dr. Phil and Ellen. Trump’s stunning Election Night upset may have contributed, but Kelly brought those numbers home for ABC-parent Disney, which can’t hurt a TV news on-air host weighing her options as her Fox News contract winds down.