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Bannon says midterms are about Trump

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Former Trump White House Strategist Steve Bannon speaks to an audience at The Hi-Q Venue in Roswell Thursday. Bannon was in Roswell to promote his film “Trump @ War” and campaigned for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mick Rich. (Alex Ross Photo)

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Steve Bannon, the controversial former White House Strategist to President Donald Trump, cast the upcoming midterm election as a referendum on Trump, while speaking at an event in Roswell Thursday.

“This is not a midterm, this is Trump’s first re-elect,” Bannon said to a crowd at the Hi-Q Venue, where he came to promote his new documentary “Trump @ War,” a film that chronicles Trump’s 2016 win and the backlash Trump and his supporters face.

Bannon, also the former CEO of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, said Republicans can maintain control of the U.S. House and lay the groundwork for a landslide re-election victory for Trump in 2020, if Trump supporters turn out like they would in a presidential election year.

He said the contentious Senate confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court are a preview of things to come if Democrats win control of the U.S. House and that Trump’s agenda is on the line.

“I hate to say that the entire burden is on your shoulders, but the entire burden is on your shoulders,” Bannon said.

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He said Democrats and the president’s critics hope a good showing in the elections will allow them to stop Trump’s agenda “in its tracks.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mick Rich also spoke. Rich hopes to unseat Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich this November. He also faces Libertarian challenger Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico governor in the race.

In his remarks introducing Bannon, Rich praised Bannon as an intricate part of Trump’s 2016 victory. He also praised Trump.

“This is a guy who says I stand up for the working guy, Rich said. “No more Washington elites directing to us how we are going to do things. President Trump stands up for all of us,” he said.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico in a press release Wednesday called on Rich to cancel his appearance with Bannon and labeled Bannon as a “white supremacist.”

“New Mexicans don’t just celebrate our diversity, we believe it is a driving force of what makes our state unique,” Marg Elliston, chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party said in the release. “Let me be clear: There is no place for Steve Bannon or his hatred in New Mexico.”

Bannon has been criticized for his views on immigration and for giving a platform to members of the alt-right, which include white nationalists when he was CEO of Brietbart News, a conservative news and opinion website.

Bannon has denied he is a racist on several past occasions and said during his speech in Roswell that he believes in economic nationalism that benefits everyone regardless of race or religion.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.