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Who Is Julia Hahn? 7 Things to Know About Steve Bannon's Protégée Who Now Works in the White House.
In 2015,Bloomberg, then the chairman of Breitbart News, and made the case that he was "the most dangerous political operative in America." Photographs for the story show Bannon looking rumpled in cargo shorts and a button-down shirt in his Washington, D.C., townhouse. Also pictured in the story is a group of young reporters thatBloombergcalls Bannon's Bulldogs. Among them is a smiling brunette named Julia Hahn, then a reporter at Breitbart.
Earlier this year, Hahn became a special assistant to the president. The White House said the hire is run-of-the-mill; spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders told theWashington Post, "There are a lot of 25-year-olds in the White House." Reports suggested the role was somewhere between junior-level and mid-level, but some in Washington didn't believe that Hahn is just your average twentysomething staffer. "She'll be Bannon's Bannon and make Bannon look moderate," William Kristol, the editor of the conservative magazine theWeekly Standard, told theWashington Post.
Now with Bannon out of the White House, the Daily Beast reports that her role has shifted and she now works on the communications team "with a focus on outreach to conservative media outlets."
Here's what is known about Hahn:
1. She is anti-immigration and anti-establishment.
While at Breitbart, Hahn often wrote critically about immigration. Her first piece for the site reported on the Census Bureau's immigration projections for 2015. A year later, Hahn was getting exclusives with Jeff Sessions, himself a hardliner on immigration, and she was drawing connections between a rise in Afghan migrants and terror attacks. In November 2019, Hahn appeared on Breitbart Radio to say conservative members of Congress weren't doing enough "to reduce immigration from terror-prone regions of the world."
The right-wing commentator Ann Coulter is a fan. Of Hahn, Coulter told theWashington Post, "She's the most wonderful, brilliant, kind, principled human being I've ever met. I want her to be president as soon as she's old enough." Another "really good friend" of Hahn's, a former Breitbart reporter told Politico, is Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump and former communications director for Jeff Sessions.
A close friend of Hahn's, William Sims, told theNew Yorkerthat despite her views, Hahn "doesn't hate refugees. She has her beliefs, and one of them is that excessive immigration poses a threat."
Alex Marlow, Breitbart's editor-in-chief, told The Hill, "Julia has been a champion for Trump's anti-establishment base and understands the issues that helped get Donald Trump elected as well as anyone."
2. Her hiring was seen by some observers as a deliberate challenge to Paul Ryan.
Hahn attacked Speaker of the House Paul Ryan during her time at Breitbart, in "savaging" pieces that have been called "brutal," "scorched earth," "scathing," and "vituperative." As a Ryan supporter told theWashington Post, "This is obviously a provocative act and clearly an intentional act. Bannon is willing to napalm the bridges with congressional Republicans." But Ryan's spokesperson told thePostthat the hire meant nothing, saying in a statement, "We could not care less."
3. She wasn't always so conservative.
Hahn grew up in a Jewish family in liberal Beverly Hills, California, and reportedly had liberal views into adulthood — even on immigration, according to theWashington Post.
Then she got a job working for the far-right radio host Laura Ingraham, and her views began to change (she eventually became an executive producer of Ingraham's show). A former classmate told theNew Yorkerthat Hahn described herself as "apolitical" at that point. "I thought, O.K., there are two possibilities," the classmate said. "Either she's dissembling because she doesn't feel comfortable being outed as a hyperconservative or she actually is just a pure social climber."
Also before joining Breitbart, Hahn served as the press secretary for Rep. Dave Brat (R-Viginia), who defeated Eric Cantor with the support of Tea Party activists.
Her grandmother Lynne Honickman, a Democrat, told theWashington Postthat Hahn "really is the type to listen to other arguments, to learn from the people around her. I think she took advantage of something she saw and is doing the best she knows how." She also suggested Hahn's views could change, saying, "What she feels in this particular moment could be different three days from now."
4. Other than her Breitbart posts, she does not have an online presence.
Hahn has a LinkedIn page but no other public social media accounts. The only photos that seem to exist of Hahn online are the ones featured in theBloombergprofile of Bannon from 2015. A Republican operative named Ryan Williams told theWashington Postthat when he met her at a party, "I told her I didn't even know if she really existed."
5. She was educated at elite institutions.
Hahn attended Harvard-Westlake, a Los Angeles prep school, and graduated in the class of 2009. A former high school history teacher, Nini Halkett, said, "She was rather soft-spoken as I recall, so I guess no, I didn't really see her headed to work for an organization like Breitbart or a person like Bannon."
TheNew Yorkerand theWashington Postreport that she participated in mock trial and organized a fundraiser so foreign orphans could come to the U.S. Classmates told thePostthat Hahn was a "brainy and ambitious young woman who was unfailingly kind."
As a senior at the University of Chicago, where Hahn majored in philosophy, she spoke on a panel on consciousness and society. She seemed then to show a knack for provocation. In citing one of her influences, the critic Leo Bersani, she said that "in the dating scene you'll end up with a lot of unwanted follow-up calls and offers of a second date when you casually mention over dinner that you're currently reading a philosopher who encourages you to shatter your current form of experience by going out and having anal sex."
6. She made good money in 2019.
According to her financial disclosure, where her title is listed as deputy policy strategist, Hahn's salary as a senior investigative reporter at Breitbart was 7,217.
According to theNew York Times, Hahn has a PNC account valued at 0,000 and million, and stocks worth as much as .5 million.
7. She is extremely loyal to Steve Bannon.
She said in a Breitbart response to a Politico piece on Bannon that her boss was "one of the most supportive, kind, inspiring and selfless bosses a reporter could ask for. He's courageous, fair, and truly cares about his country and the decent, everyday working American men and women, who are entitled to representation in Washington. Steve is a fearless voice for people who have been made voiceless, and it is an honor to have worked with him."
Bannon came to Hahn's defense in 2015 when Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said she was "not a truthful reporter." Bannon told Politico, "He called her a liar and tried to humiliate her in a public forum in the Capitol, when in fact HE is the liar! Breitbart News will not back down and we stand by Julia's reporting 120%."
This article was originally published in April and has been updated.
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