There had been rumblings over the past few days that Steve Bannon, President Trump’s Chief White House Strategist, could be on his way out… and now it seems to be true.
Almost one year after he was officially brought on to Trump’s staff, Bannon is now out. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement to pool reporters, “White House chief of staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”
Just a day before his ouster, NewsMax political insider John Gizzi speculated that Bannon would be pushed out due to “revelations about President Trump’s Korea policy” and the fact that his remarks appeared to undermine the president’s agenda with regard to dealing with North Korea’s blustering threats.
As far as North Korea goes, Bannon called the liberal ‘American Prospect’ to opine that America is at economic war with China, and appeared to undermine Trump’s threats of violence toward North Korea, telling the magazine: “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
The interview gave credence to mainstream media reports that the “knives were out” for Bannon, and that the advisor had made White House staff and Trump upset with his “maniacal” focus on China.
Bannon did not travel with Trump during the first week of his working vacation in Bedminster, New Jersey. Instead the former chief adviser remained in Washington, ostensibly “working” out of a temporary office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Largely viewed as a primary architect of Trump’s populist conservative platform ahead of the 2016 election, there’s speculation about how the White House move will sit with the president’s base.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-S.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, implored the president to keep Bannon on board, according to chatter from GOP sources on Capitol Hill.
And for a short time, conservative protestations of White House efforts to push Bannon out appear to have swayed Trump’s decision. Multiple reports indicate that the president was prepared to fire Bannon right after he kicked Reince Priebus off the White House payroll weeks ago. And according to The New York Times, the president had Bannon’s resignation in hand earlier this month.
A major reason for conservative calls for Trump to reconsider letting Bannon go stems from the anti-globalist agenda the chief strategist pushed to the delight of many Republicans tired of the warmongering party establishment.
That also appears to be a major reason Bannon found himself on the Trump chopping block as the administration brought in more officials with ties to the neocon establishment at the advice of Trump son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner.
As noted by NYT:
Mr. Bannon has been in a battle with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, since the spring.
[T]heir alliance ruptured as Mr. Trump elevated the roles of Gary D. Cohn, his top economic policy adviser and a former official at Goldman Sachs, and Dina Powell, a former Bush administration official who also worked on Wall Street. Mr. Cohn is a registered Democrat, and both he and Ms. Powell have been denounced by conservative media outlets as being antithetical to Mr. Trump’s populist message.
Increased national tension over the past week in relation to the happenings in Charlottesville seemingly has given the administration the go-ahead to sever ties with Bannon without worry that the move smells of an effort to make the administration more appealing to financiers and beneficiaries of the military-industrial establishment.
Just two days ago, Newsweek blamed Bannon for Trump’s “tepid statement” on the Charlottesville fiasco. Since Trump said “many sides” were responsible for the unrest last weekend, Americans have been inundated by wall-to-wall media coverage speculating that the president’s administration harbors officials sympathetic to white nationalist and neo-Nazi views.
It’s impossible to say just how much Bannon identifies with the far right, if at all. Although he likes to portray himself as an above-the-fray intellectual, Bannon has been accused of anti-Semitism by an ex-wife, and he made an anti-Asian statement on his radio program. His favorite books are said to include The Camp of the Saints, an anti-immigrant French novel, and the works of Italian fascist Julius Evola. Bannon has reportedly disparaged centrist members of the Trump administration as “globalists” and “cucks,” resorting to the kind of juvenile vitriol one doesn’t often hear from a senior government official.
The bottom line is that Bannon is simply taking the political fall that someone (Kushner?) believes will make Trump’s administration more appealing to globalists, warmongers and the Washington political establishment.
-Personal Liberty staff contributed to this report.
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