Oops. Seems like Steve Bannon said the quiet part out loud more than a year ago.
If you somehow missed it, the former White House chief strategist was arrested on Thursday, charged with defrauding donors to the viral ‘We Build the Wall’ GoFundMe campaign. Federal prosecutors allege he and Brian Kolfage — the founder of We Build the Wall — worked to funnel thousands of dollars in donations to Kolfage to fund a “lavish lifestyle.” Two other men, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, were also charged as part of the scheme.
So, that in mind, flash back to June 2019, with Bannon and Kolfage broadcasting a Wall-a-Thon to raise funds. In a clip that was unearthed on Friday and has now gone viral, Bannon jokes about stealing money from the GoFundMe to buy a yacht.
“Welcome back, this is Stephen K. Bannon and we’re off the coast of Saint-Tropez in Southern France in the Mediterranean on a million-dollar yacht. Brian Kolfage, he took all that money from Build the Wall,” Bannon says. “No, we’re actually in Sunland Park, New Mexico.”
Well, might not have been a joke after all. Bannon was taken into custody on Thursday by agents from the U.S. Postal Service. He was — not kidding here — arrested on the deck of a $35 million, 150-foot yacht while drinking coffee and reading a book.
“As alleged, not only did they lie to donors, they schemed to hide their misappropriation of funds by creating sham invoices and accounts to launder donations and cover up their crimes, showing no regard for the law or the truth,” Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett . “This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist.”
To be fair, the yacht Bannon was taken off of was off the coast of Westbrook, Connecticut, not Saint-Tropez.