Who Is Mary Louise Piccard? Steve Bannon's Ex-Wife Made Claims That Stoke Critics' Worst Fears

Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon watches as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada on November 5, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

As Steve Bannon prepares to head to the White House after being named chief strategist and senior counselor for the Donald Trump administration, it is hard to ignore the alleged claims of his ex-wife, which he has denied. As the Associated Press reported in August, in court documents, Mary Louise Piccard characterized Bannon as allegedly anti-Semitic and abusive, casting, perhaps, the harshest spotlight on the former Breitbart head. 

Bannon became Trump's campaign CEO in August. And Bannon now scored a spot in the White House as chief strategist and senior counselor. He has long been a polarizing figure, stemming from his tenure at Brietbart, a website which he proudly proclaimed was "the platform for the alt-right" to Mother Jones' Sarah Posner. Yet, even though under Bannon's leadership, Breitbart published stories such as "Would You Rather Your Child Have Feminism or Cancer?," Piccard's comments and claims about her former husband —  even though he's denied them — may raise the most red flags about him.

A police report from 1996, as well as their divorce filings, covers the details of a domestic violence incident between Bannon and Piccard, where Piccard claimed that Bannon grabbed her by the throat and arm during an altercation. The police report said that responding officers did notice red marks on Piccard that could corroborate her account. Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness charges, but the charges were dropped when Piccard did not appear in court. Bannon's spokesperson told Politico, which broke the story of the charges in August, that "The bottom line is he has a great relationship with the twins, he has a great relationship with the ex-wife, he still supports them."

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Piccard also accused Bannon of being anti-Semitic. The New York Daily News first reported that in a 2007 court declaration, Piccard said that Bannon did not want his kids to attend the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, because he was concerned about the amount of Jewish students enrolled. As the publication reported, Piccard wrote that he "doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be 'whiny brats' and that he didn't want the girls going to school with Jews." She also recounted that Bannon allegedly asked another school's director why there “so many Chanukah books in the library” and allegedly asked her if it bothered her that one school had previously been a temple. A spokesperson for Bannon told the New York Daily News that “At the time, Mr. Bannon never said anything like that and proudly sent the girls to Archer for their middle school and high school education.”

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The Anti-Defamation League has denounced Trump's appointment of Bannon to the White House. "It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ – a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists – is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house,’” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. A sad day, indeed.

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