Although Steve Bannon announced he left Breitbart.com in mid-January and the site and its investors have publicly signaled a sharp split from the now-former presidential adviser, it appears Bannon may still be living in the town house that serves as Breitbart’s D.C. headquarters.
Bannon announced his resignation from Breitbart on January 9, and the site quickly moved to distance itself from its longtime chair. Earlier this month, far-right Breitbart donor Rebekah Mercer, formerly advised by Bannon, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Bannon “took Breitbart in the wrong direction” and that “now that Mr. Bannon has resigned, Breitbart has the opportunity to refine its message and expand its influence.”
But how much distance can Breibart really claim from Steve Bannon if he’s still living upstairs at the D.C. town house known as the “Breitbart Embassy”?
According to a new interview with GQ magazine, Bannon is still “holed up at the company's Capitol Hill headquarters, plotting the next stage of his right-wing populist revolution and brooding over the course of human events.” From the February 28 piece:
These days, he no longer runs Breitbart News, but Bannon remains holed up at the company's Capitol Hill headquarters, plotting the next stage of his right-wing populist revolution and brooding over the course of human events.
That's where, on a recent Saturday afternoon, I found him—wearing a beige-khaki shirt over an orange polo, the collar down on one side and popped on the other. Amid the clutter sprawled in front of him on the dining room table at Breitbart's townhouse lay two totems of his current thinking. One was a copy of The New York Times, showing coverage of the Women's March protests that greeted the one-year anniversary of Trump's inauguration. He's been studying the movement closely, he explained. The other was a sheet of paper on which he'd sketched a triangle, labeling its vertices China, Persia, and Turkey. Invoking the 1930s and '40s, Bannon told me that he believes the triumvirate is forming a "new Axis," one that he thinks the U.S. and its allies must confront and defeat.
Writer Michael Lewis also appeared to have visited Bannon at the “Embassy” for a Bloomberg View piece published earlier in February. According to that profile, Bannon hosted some Breitbart staffers at the house to watch the January 30 State of the Union address.
Breitbart has used the Capitol Hill town house as its headquarters since at least 2011. In various interviews and reports over the years, the property has been referred to as “offices,” a “workspace,” and Bannon’s “living quarters.”
In November 2017, Olivia Nuzzi reported in New York magazine that Bannon was “unwilling to admit that he calls the Breitbart Embassy home,” though a source agreed with what Nuzzi described as “the general consensus here in D.C.,” saying that Bannon lives “on the top two floors” of the town house. He also reportedly treated the property like a home, leaving family photos on the mantel and diet instructions on the fridge. A December application to the D.C. Historic Preservation Office also described the property as “the home of Stephen K. Bannon.”
And in September, Bannon sat for an interview with 60 Minutes at the Breitbart Embassy. The resulting package described the property as Bannon’s “home in Washington, which doubles as the headquarters of Breitbart News,” and it showed footage of Bannon meeting with editorial staff at the dining room table.
As USA Today’s Paul Singer reported in March, a local elected official familiar with zoning rules stated that Breitbart’s various uses for the town house “appear to violate” zoning regulations for the neighborhood. The house is zoned for residential use only -- and its actual owner, Egyptian politician Moustafa El-Gindy, was, until recently, receiving a deduction for the house that owners get if they maintain residence in the property -- but it’s clearly used as a commercial workspace.
At the time of Singer’s investigation, a Breitbart spokesperson told the reporter -- and the standing committee that oversees Senate press coverage -- that the site was “transitioning” out of the house and actively looking for a new workspace in downtown D.C. According to Nuzzi’s profile eight months later, Breitbart News was still “headquartered in the basement” though most staffers worked there only when they were required to attend meetings.