Breitbart.com’s Stephen Bannon, newly minted CEO of the Donald Trump presidential campaign, was once charged with domestic violence, battery, and dissuading a witness, according to a 1996 police report, Politico uncovered Friday.
The charges made after a 911 call from Bannon’s ex-wife were eventually dropped when she failed to appear for the court date, but the police reports from the time detail a story of repeated mental and physical abuse by Bannon. Bannon plead "not guilty" to all the charges, Politico reported:
The Santa Monica, Calif., police report says that Bannon’s then-wife claimed he pulled at her neck and wrist during an altercation over their finances, and an officer reported witnessing red marks on her neck and wrist to bolster her account. Bannon also reportedly smashed the phone when she tried to call the police.
Bannon’s spokesperson told Politico that the "bottom line" was that Bannon still "has a great relationship with the ex-wife, he still supports them."
Nevertheless, it’s an unseemly development for a newly hired presidential campaign lead, but one not totally foreign for the Trump team. Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was charged with misdemeanor battery during the campaign (the charges were eventually dropped) after physically assaulting a Breitbart reporter, Michelle Fields, at a Florida rally.
Not to mention that Trump's ex-wife Ivana accused him of sexual assault during their divorce proceedings in the '90s — he denied it (and Ivana now says stories about her previous accusation are "totally without merit").
Previous allegations against Trump’s staff, his history of condoning violence at rallies, and a tumultuous past with woman have led many to question whether Trump will be able to rally women Republican voters to support him in November.
Trump hasn’t fared very well with women voters
New developments over Bannon’s history with his ex-wife bring light to a particularly daunting demographic for the Trump campaign: women.
Bouts of sexist comments throughout the primary season, a feud with Fox News host Megyn Kelly prompted by a debate question about Trump’s history of sexist comments, and reports of Trump’s womanizing past have put the Republican nominee in a tight spot with women voters.
A general election ABC/Washington Post poll from August showed Clinton had a 23-point lead over Trump in women voters. And from exit polling during the primaries, Trump supporters have time and time again proven to be predominantly white and predominantly male. Trump only wins 72 percent of Republican women, according to the New York Times (Romney won 93 percent of Republican women in 2012).
"For Donald Trump to win the White House he must find a way to attract more women voters to his candidacy," NBC's Dante Chinni wrote in May.
Based on the past 20 years of polling data, women play an important role in general elections in two significant ways: Women disproportionately vote for the Democratic candidate, and they consistently make up more than 50 percent of the electorate.
With Bannon’s appointment Trump also brought on Kellyanne Conway to manage his campaign. The first female campaign manager of a Republican presidential, Conway has an established career advising politicians to win female voters. But the situation is still bleak for Trump — and new revelations over Bannon’s history with domestic abuse will likely be another setback in the campaign’s efforts to improve Trump’s image with women.
In Chinni's analysis of Trump’s position, Trump's best-case scenario means raising his support among male voters to the highest of any candidate in the past three decades and bringing Clinton's support among women to the lowest of any candidate in the past three decades — and that still doesn't quite make the cut. He wrote:
Even if Trump can do all of that - get his advantage with men up to Bush's 11-point edge and get Clinton's edge with women down to just 11 points - he still would come up short in the popular vote because of the first part of the equation: women produce more votes. It would be very close though, a margin of just less than a percentage point, maybe close enough to put the all-important Electoral College tally in play.
"The question remains to be seen whether they will vote or if it will impact their vote to have a candidate who speaks in the way that Trump does and has for most of his lifetime about women," Fox News's Megyn Kelly said of women voters on Good Morning America.