STATEN ISLAND — As he continues to posit himself as the most pro-Trump candidate for the borough's congressional seat, ex-con Michael Grimm secured support from the White House's ex-chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to reports.
Grimm, who spent nearly seven months behind bars for his tax fraud conviction, posted a photo on his Twitter Wednesday with Breitbart's executive chairman Bannon after a meeting.
Once again, he borrowed a phrase from Trump's campaign.
A spokesman for Grimm's campaign did not respond to a request for comment, but the former congressman told Newsweek that Bannon was "very excited" to help him get his old job back.
"We're definitely going to work together…. And I can say that Steve Bannon was very excited about it," Grimm told Newsweek.
"I mean, he's not the type of guy that shows emotion easily, but I could tell he was definitely excited," Grimm added.
Grimm announced his run over the weekend against Dan Donovan in a Republican primary for the seat — which represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn — and has been trying to ride a second populist wave into office.
He hired former Trump campaign strategist Michael Caputo, borrowed the "drain the swamp" phrase during his announcement and has repeatedly tried to paint Donovan as not in line with the president to voters in the only borough Trump won.
“I believe that I will not be judged by my transgressions, but how I rebound in spite of them,” Grimm said during his Sunday announcement, according to the New York Daily News.
“I know that my leadership is still sorely needed right here in Staten Island, in Brooklyn and in Washington, where the swamp still needs to be drained."
For his part, Donovan has called Trump a personal friend, supported him since the primary and, despite being against the GOP health bill, has voted 89 percent in line with the president while in office.
"The administration is leaning towards Dan Donovan," said a Republican insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "The two have had a relationship for many years prior to him becoming president."
Donovan's campaign has also tried to paint Grimm — who was the seventh most liberal House Republican in 2014 — as having a left-leaning voting record.
"It's a bad day for swamp draining," said Jessica Proud, spokeswoman for Donovan's campaign, in a statement.
"Michael Grimm's liberal voting record on issues like immigration, trade and gun control is counter to everything Steve Bannon stands for, and he didn't even vote for President Trump. Dan has a 90% voting record with the President and the voters of Staten Island and South Brooklyn know the truth."
Grimm was first elected to Congress in 2010 but later resigned in 2015 after he pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Donovan, the former District Attorney, won his seat in a special election that year.
If Grimm does knock out Donovan in the primary, he'll still have to face a Democratic candidate to get his seat back. So far, at least six candidates are vying for the chance to run for the Democratic ticket.
"It apparently wasn’t enough that Michael Grimm had a felony conviction on his resume and now he can add the backing of a white nationalist to go along with it," said DCCC spokesman Evan Lukaske.
"Eventually this bruising Republican primary will produce either Grimm, a convicted felon, or Donovan, a do nothing establishment politician who hasn’t delivered for Staten Island and Brooklyn families. Either will make a great opponent for our eventual Democratic nominee."
Army veteran Max Rose announced Thursday he already outraised the whole field with more than $320,000 in his war chest, surpassing even Donovan's $258,663.
"Michael Grimm and Dan Donovan both had their chance to fix Washington. They failed," Rose said in a statement. "It's time for new leadership."