Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, was born in West Virginia and has been a billionaire for the past three decades, but that’s not stopping him from exploring a presidential bid.
Bannon’s new team, which he joined after his election as chief strategist, has spent $1.2 million on ads attacking Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, including two that attack her on abortion.
They also have aired ads calling her a liar.
The ad buy was part of an aggressive effort by Bannon to capitalize on the growing controversy over Trump’s alleged links to Russia, where he’s accused of having a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I’ve never been a big fan of Putin, but I’ve seen that he has a strong commitment to democracy and the rule of law,” Bannon told a group of business leaders at a conference in February, according to a transcript of the speech.
That speech drew criticism from Democrats, who argued it undercut Trump’s claims that he was innocent of any collusion with Russia.
On Tuesday, the Trump campaign said in a statement that it has spent more than $1 million on advertising against Clinton, “while the Clinton campaign has spent nearly $3 million to attack the Trump-Bannon campaign.”
Bryan Fischer, the founder of the American Family Association, called Bannon a “lunatic” and said the candidate “has no clue what he’s talking about.”
Trump has since distanced himself from Bannon, who he fired in January.
After the election, he appointed his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as chief of staff.
Lewandowski is widely seen as a Trump surrogate and has spent a lot of time on the campaign trail attacking Clinton.
In an interview with the New York Times, Lewandowski said that the election results are in part “the outcome of a rigged system.”
Trump has denied having any Russian connections and has blamed the media for creating the Russia controversy, but has also acknowledged the Russian involvement.
At a news conference last week, Trump said that he didn’t know about the ties between his campaign and Russia until he learned about it from CNN.
Former Trump campaign manager Sam Nunberg said he thinks Trump’s former campaign chief strategist is a dangerous person.
Nunberg, who now works for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, said he believes Bannon was a “fraud” who could have hurt the campaign and “had an impact on how we won.”
“He is the sort of person who could create a situation where you have a president who is completely unfit for office,” Nunberg told MSNBC.
A Bannon spokesperson told Politico that he’s been “deeply committed to fighting for conservative values” and believes that “Democrats have done a terrible job.”
He added that he is “not trying to take credit for the election” and that he will be campaigning “for our party and our president.”