In 2012 interviews, Steve Bannon compared protesters on the left to the Nazi Brownshirts

Story highlights

  • "I think you see from Occupy Wall Street, you start to see how Brownshirts operated," Bannon said in 2012.
  • "You start to see it as instrument of intimidation, bully tactics," he added

(CNN)Steve Bannon, chief strategist to President Donald Trump, repeatedly in 2012 interviews equated the Occupy Wall Street movement to Nazi Brownshirts, the paramilitary group that harassed and instigated violence against opponents.

Bannon made the comments in appearances to promote his film, "Occupy Unmasked," a movie that, according to its official description, "reveals the sinister, organized, and highly orchestrated nature of its leaders and their number one goal: Not just to change government, but to destroy it."
In his interviews and through the film, Bannon argues that the Occupy movement was part of the professional and highly organized left.
    In an interview with at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference, Bannon argues the media helped the left-wing protesters shift the conversation from deficits and spending towards income inequality. Bannon said you could see this professional left trying to stop people from gathering at CPAC.
    "To see government employee unions, to see union thugs, to see anarchists out there to try to stop people from -- which you would never see anybody on the right try to do, to stop people from assembling -- you see the violent nature. I gotta tell you, this organized left and what you're gonna see in the film, is what I consider the Brownshirts."
    "I think you see from Occupy Wall Street, you start to see how Brownshirts operated," he adds. "You start to see it as instrument of intimidation, bully tactics."
    A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
    At a CPAC panel for the film, Bannon made similar comments.
    "You see the infrastructure of these Brownshirts, which essentially they are, and what they intend to do to intimidate decent people," Bannon said of the "professional left." "The victims of this film are some of the most liberal mayors in this country, in Oakland, and in Portland, and in Seattle, and places like that. People that tried to work with these people. You'll see the carnage they leave in their wake."
    And speaking to radio host Larry Sinclair, Bannon went further, saying he saw moral equivalency between the two groups.
      "The Occupy movement is really a combination of the internet, the media, and street thugs. Right? It's a weapon of intimidation," Bannon said in September 2012. "It is the moral equivalent today of the Brownshirts of the 1930s. It's going to be used as a weapon of intimidation. People after they see this film, they go--people walk out of the audience frightened.
      "We put the cameras down in these groups, and what you see, the images of hatred on these people's faces, is really if you were in the first days of the French revolution."