Supporters of Steve Bannon fear the chief of White House strategist is about to be pushed out, following the posting last night of an ominous interview with President Trump by Michael Goodwin, a New York Post columnist and someone the president has been comfortable with over many years.
What It’s Means: Jonathan Swan points out that if Bannon goes, there is no one of similar status in the White House who has the status to push the nationalist agenda to President Trump – and more centrist figures are already ascendant (Gary Cohn, Jivanka). Without Steve Bannon’s voice, this becomes a much more conventional White House. It would be an acute normalizing of the staff, although no one can normalize Donald Trump.
The Brutal Headline: “U.S. President won’t definitively say he still backs Bannon.”
What Trump Said: “I like Steve, but you have to remember he wasn’t involved in my campaign until very late … I had already beaten all the senators & all the governors, and I did not know Steve. I’m my own strategist and it was not like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary Clinton. Steve is a good guy, but I told them to straighten it out or I will.”
The Instant Fallout: Swan hears Steve Bannon supporters inside and outside the White House were taken by surprise when Goodwin’s column posted, and are worried. In private conversations, they call him “Globalist Gary.”
What Got Bannon In Trouble: Donald Trump didn’t like the stories about Bannon as the Svengali, or leaks against Ivanka and Jared, or planted stories that he blamed Bannon for. It was less than 10 weeks ago that Bannon appeared on the cover of TIME as “THE GREAT MANIPULATOR,” with the inside story asking if he was “The 2nd Most Powerful Man in the World.”
Bannon’s Mistake: He did little to build alliances & a personal retinue with in the White House, while his rivals did the opposite. So he wound-up isolated in “West Wing Survivor.’
The Huge Risk For U.S. President: The base (including Breitbart) remains very attached to Bannon, and would go crazy if he were axed and does the president lose his psychic connection to the issue palette that helped put him in power?