Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said the release of the "Access Hollywood" video in the last month of the 2016 campaign served as a loyalty test for Donald Trump's top advisers and ultimately cost New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a job in the Trump administration.
"The Billy Bush Saturday to me is a litmus test," Bannon said in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" set to air Sunday. "It's a litmus test, and I said it the other day to Gen. Kelly during the Charlottesville thing, afterwards. It's a line I remember from the movie ‘The Wild Bunch.' William Holden uses it right before that huge gunfight at the end. ‘When you side with a man, you side with him,' OK?
"The good and the bad. You can criticize him behind, but when you side with him, you have to side with him, and that's what Billy Bush weekend showed me. Billy Bush Saturday showed me who really had Donald Trump's back to his better angels."
After the tape was released, Bannon said, he got his "black book" and effectively blacklisted Christie from getting a job with the Trump administration because he failed to show loyalty to Trump.
"Christie, because of Billy Bush weekend … was not looked at for a Cabinet position," Bannon said in a clip of the interview released Friday. "I told him, ‘The plane leaves at 11 o'clock in the morning. If you're on the plane, you're on the team.' Didn't make the plane."
The Washington Post published the old hot-mic audio of Trump describing to "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush how he grabs women "by the pussy" because he's "a star." The tape was published Friday, Oct. 8; that weekend, then-candidate Trump met with top campaign advisers to ask if they believed he still had a chance to win the election.
Reince Priebus, who was then chairman of the Republican National Committee and went on to serve as White House chief of staff, told Trump he had two choices.
"'You either drop out right now, or you lose by the biggest landslide in American history,'" Bannon recalled Priebus saying.
Bannon, though, said he told Trump he had a "100 percent probability of winning," and said the American people understood Trump and Bush were simply engaging in "locker room talk."
Bannon served as White House chief strategist for seven months before leaving his post last month. He returned to his position as executive chairman of Breitbart News.