Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon is out as of Friday and President Donald Trump has caved to the political pressure that has been on him for having Bannon on staff, as Bannon has been viewed s Trump’s ties to the “alt-right” movement and alleged white nationalism.
Still, the White House attempted to present the parting as mutual.
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”
The ousting by Kelly comes just weeks after he filled the position of White House Chief of Staff in place of former Republican National Committee leader Reince Priebus.
The Washington Times reports:
White House staffers and others close to the West Wing said Mr. Kelly, a retired general who formerly led the Department of Homeland Security, was clearly the force who pushed out Mr. Bannon.
“Staffers are relieved to see that the effort by Gen. Kelly is ongoing to professionalize operations within the White House,” said a Republican close to the West Wing.
Just Tuesday, Mr. Trump had said “we’ll see what happens” when asked about Mr. Bannon’s future.
The calls for Mr. Bannon’s firing intensified in the past week, after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent, leaving one woman dead and 19 injured. The president has blamed “both sides” for the violence, and the resulting furor has targeted Mr. Bannon as the adviser most responsible for Mr. Trump appearing to cozy up with the alt-right movement.
Bannon and Trump’s opposition have praised the move.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Mr. Bannon’s departure is “welcome news,” but she said it “doesn’t disguise where President Trump himself stands on white supremacists.”
“Personnel changes are worthless so long as President Trump continues to advance policies that disgrace our cherished American values,” Pelosi said in a statement.
As if Pelosi’s advancement of sodomy, socialism and abortion are “cherished American values.”
Already, Bannon has moved right back in as Executive Chairman of Breitbart News.
“The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today,” said Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow. “Breitbart gained an executive chairman with his finger on the pulse of the Trump agenda.”
“Breitbart’s pace of global expansion will only accelerate with Steve back,” added President Larry Solov. “The sky’s the limit.”
Bannon has been referred to as everything from a “populist hero” to a Communist, but clearly, he was threat to the establishment in Washington as evidenced by him being targeted the way he was through his time in the Trump administration.
Bannon is now being hailed as “Bannon the Barbarian” as he resumes his position where he may have far more influence in the political realm than in the White House.
One thing is for certain, Steve Bannon is not abandoning the fight. He’s going to war for Trump.
Tyler Durden pointed out the following:
With regard his internal adversaries, at the departments of State and Defense, who think the United States can enlist Beijing’s aid on the North Korean standoff, and at Treasury and the National Economic Council who don’t want to mess with the trading system, Bannon was ever harsher…
“Oh, they’re wetting themselves,” he said, explaining that the Section 301 complaint, which was put on hold when the war of threats with North Korea broke out, was shelved only temporarily, and will be revived in three weeks. As for other cabinet departments, Bannon has big plans to marginalize their influence.
“That’s a fight I fight every day here,” he said. “We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.”
“We gotta do this. The president’s default position is to do it, but the apparatus is going crazy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s like, every day.”
Bannon dismissed the far-right as irrelevant:
“Ethno-nationalism—it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.”
“These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added.
And finally, Bannon scoffed at The Democrats…
“…the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
* * *
Kurt Bardella, a Republican communications specialist who worked for Bannon at Breitbart but later denounced him, predicts the strategist would “feel liberated” by his departure.
“Now, he will be able to operate openly and freely to inflict as much damage as he possibly can on the ‘globalists’ that remain in the Trump Administration.”
Already Donald Trump has picked a lot of stinkers to be a part of his administration. With the parting of Bannon, Breitbart’s Senior Editor-at-Large, Joel Pollak writes, “With Steve Bannon gone, Donald Trump risks becoming Arnold Schwarzenegger 2.0.”
When he took office in 2003 as Governor of California, “The Terminator” carried the hopes of conservatives in the Golden State, who saw him as a vehicle for their ideas, even if he was not a doctrinaire conservative himself. The faltering California Republican Party looked to Schwarzenegger to reverse its long-term decline, and Republicans elsewhere saw his success as a model from which they could learn as they courted moderate, swing-state voters.
But after struggling with intense media criticism, and after losing a key referendum on reforms to state government, Schwarzenegger gave up on his agenda, and abandoned the political base that had brought him into office. He re-invented himself as a liberal, embracing policies such as California’s controversial cap-and-trade program, which had zero effect on climate change but has chased businesses, jobs, and middle-class families out of the state.
Politically, Schwarzenegger’s gambit was a success. He won re-election in 2006. But his second term was a disaster. When he left office in 2010, the state was in a financial shambles and the California Republican Party had begun a decline from which it still has not recovered.
Bannon was not just Trump’s master strategist, the man who turned a failing campaign around in August 2016 and led one of the most remarkable come-from-behind victories in political history. He was also the conservative spine of the administration. His infamous whiteboard in the West Wing listed the promises Trump had made to the voters, and he was determined to check as many of them off as possible. Steve Bannon personified the Trump agenda.
With Bannon gone, there is no guarantee that Trump will stick to the plan. That is why — too late, in retrospect — conservative leaders wrote to the president Friday to advise him that Bannon and campaign manager-turned-counselor Kellyanne Conway were too valuable to lose. Bannon had delivered for the movement, reportedly convincing President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords, and to visit Israel on his first trip abroad.
According to Pollak, Bannon was the only person who gave honest advice to Trump, along with honest criticism.
If Trump becomes Schwarzenegger 2.0, which is feasible, I’m wondering how long his die hard supporters are going to carry water for him.
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