Boston Globe reporter interviewed 24 classmates of Bannon.
Here are some good quotes:
“In my view, Steve was certainly top three in intellectual horsepower in our class — perhaps the smartest,” Allen said. “But he combined horsepower with logical, well-structured arguments. Whenever Steve spoke, my advice was to ‘listen for understanding.’ That is what I am doing today.”
“Steve’s comments in class were peppered with political history references and quotes — everybody thought he would make money for a while and then run for the US Senate,” Pellegrini said.
“As a woman, minority [Asian], an immigrant, and as onetime supporter of Hillary Clinton, I believe I can be objective in my assessment of Steve Bannon,” Thai Lee said in an e-mail. “The Steve I knew in 1980’s was a very smart, studious, and polite young man. I have never heard Steve speak ill of women, minorities, or others.”
It’s the kind of language that was virtually unheard of in his Harvard days, from Bannon or anyone else. And some of those who got to know Bannon back then say they don’t think he believes some of those things, even now.
Instead, they believe he is simply doing what he was taught more than three decades ago: exploiting a business opportunity, this time in the furious, neglected legions of the white middle class. He saw a market in their sense of alienation, and Trump’s election suggests that his forecast was truer than most.
“If you were asking me about some of the articles published and things clearly intended to be lightning rod, I’m not sure Steve subscribes to those beliefs,” said one former classmate, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “But there’s a strong argument to be made that he was doing whatever any good business leader would do, which is serving his customers and providing a product.”