Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Steve Bannon Insulted Trump Opponents As ‘Shmendriks’

Steve Bannon might have promoted Breitbart News as “the platform for the ‘alt-right,’” but that has not prevented him from using the universal language of insults: Yiddish.

Bannon, now the White House chief strategist to President Trump, used to refer to backers of rival Hillary Clinton as “shmendriks,” according to a new book on the campaign from journalist Joshua Green.

The term “shmendrik” refers to a stupid or foolish person, another entry in the line of Yiddish put-downs, including words like schlemiel, schnorrer and an array of unprintables.

According to Green, whose book is excerpted in New York magazine, Bannon was the architect of Trump’s no-apologies campaign strategy and reveled in lobbing insults at the Clinton camp.

Bannon’s appointment as a White House adviser caused controversy because of his connection with the “alt-right,” a group of modern-day white nationalists, white supremacists and fellow travelers. His pick was opposed by numerous Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at [email protected] or on Twitter, @DanielJSolomon

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.