Update: Steve Bannon’s appearance tonight at a Republican “unity dinner” in Warren will likely serve as a highly charged event following the string of Democratic victories across the U.S. on Tuesday.
Bannon, former senior strategist for President Trump, will be expected to reassure the Macomb County Republican Party members on hand as media reports indicate state and city election results reflect an anti-Trump mood among the electorate.
While Bannon offers his take on the 2017 elections in his speech to a sold-out crowd, outside the Andiamo’s banquet center a fired-up group of liberal activists is expected to mount a loud demonstration at the 14 Mile Road site.
The Michigan Democratic Political Action Network will be joined in the protest by members of the North Macomb Democratic Club, Refuse Fascism, and Stop Trump Ann Arbor.
“It is clear what brand of conservatism the Macomb County GOP embraces by the support of Bannon. As the recent counter-protest of white supremacists in Tennessee proves, coming out in numbers to shout down proponents of a white ‘ethno-state’ is effective,” said the Action Network’s spokesman, Robert Fidler, in a statement on Tuesday.
Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon joined in the pre-event rhetoric when he held a conference call with Michigan reporters. The MDP said in a press release that “Bannon (is) stoking division by recruiting candidates to take on establishment Republicans. Michigan voters deserve to know where Republican candidates stand on the GOP civil war.”
A standoff between pro-Trump and anti-Trump political forces in Michigan’s most politically potent county could take place Wednesday in Macomb County.
Steve Bannon, the highly controversial former White House senior adviser to President Trump, will speak as the invited guest of the Macomb County Republican Party for a 5 p.m. “Unity Dinner” in Warren. The event, which serves as a 1-year anniversary celebration of Trump’s 2016 election victory, is sold out, with a crowd of several hundred people anticipated for the GOP fundraiser.
While Bannon, who was forced out of the administration months ago amid White House infighting, is not a kindly character among establishment Republicans, he maintains a popular persona among the pro-Trump crowd. Of course, he is also a despised figure among Democrats, who view him as a white nationalist.
When Bannon was announced last month as the speaker at the Macomb GOP dinner, the quick response from Michigan liberals and progressives was to organize a protest that would make as much noise as possible outside of the site, the Andiamo’s banquet center. We will see if that quick burst of #Resistance enthusiasm still holds.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts told The Macomb Daily that his office has received calls demanding he stop Bannon from coming to Warren while also fielding calls insisting that he prevent demonstrators from protesting. The mayor has promised a strong police presence to keep order for the event.
Bannon is accustomed to protesters at his speaking engagements and he often uses them as a foil when criticizing the far-left.
At the same time, press reports have indicated that Bannon maintains a close relationship with the president since his White House departure. He has returned to his old post as a leader at the right-wing website Breitbart and often plays the role of instigator.
He demonstrated his ongoing assault against the mainstream GOP last month, declaring in a speech to the California Republican Party that “there has not been a more destructive presidency than George W. Bush’s.”