There can only be one self-involved egomaniacal man-child in the White House, and that is Donald Trump.
New chief of staff Ret. Gen. John Kelly finally pulled the trigger and fired Steve Bannon (and more firings are rumored coming). Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon fired:
President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has been fired, multiple White House officials told CNN on Friday.
Sources told CNN that Bannon’s ouster had been in the works for two weeks and a source said that while Bannon was given the option to resign, he was ultimately forced out.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Bannon’s departure, but claimed the decision for him to leave was mutual.
“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,” Sanders said in a statement.
The President has privately stewed over Bannon in recent days, including Thursday night from his golf course in New Jersey. He was furious with his chief strategist after he was quoted in an interview with the American Prospect contradicting Trump on North Korea and asserting that Bannon was able to make personnel changes at the State Department.
Bannon’s exit comes just seven months after Trump took office and three weeks after retired Gen. Kelly took over as chief of staff, looking to instill order in a chaotic White House beset by internal divisions, staff infighting and a storm of controversies.
Bannon’s exit meant one of the White House’s most controversial staffers, the man generally perceived as the driving force behind Trump’s “nationalist” ideology, would no longer be at the center of the Trump universe.
A person close to chief of staff John Kelly says John Kelly isn’t done streamlining effort he entered office intent on executing. Bannon may be his highest-profile firing so far, but “Kelly’s not done,” the person said.
Rumor has it that fascist sympathizer Sebastian Gorka will be next. And what about the other racist “even Steven,” Stephen Miller? Gotta go for the hat trick, general. As the Washington Post’s Stephen Stromberg says, There are still lots of scary people in Trump’s White House.
The real power behind the throne
The question now is whether Bannon will be an ally or a thorn in the side of the Trump administration outside the White House, where he is likely to return to his role as head of Breitbart, the right-wing news site he ran until he joined Trump’s campaign a year ago.
Whatever his plans, Bannon is expected to remain tightly connected to the billionaire conservative father-daughter pair Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who are major investors in Breitbart News and top Trump donors.
Both Bannon and Trump spoke with the Mercers in recent days, a White House official said.
It’s time for someone to leak that conversation to the media. Americans have the right to know what the Mercers are manipulating.
Breitbart News: #WAR
Breitbart News had been unfailingly supportive of President Trump, first during his campaign and then during his presidency. But following the White House’s ouster of Steve Bannon, the former head of the right-wing website, Breitbart News appears to be getting ready for a fight with the Trump team. ‘#WAR’: Breitbart set to take on Trump White House after Bannon ouster:
Bannon, his allies and the site’s staffers have not been subtle about what is likely to happen now.
Joel Pollak, a senior editor-at-large at Breitbart, tweeted “#WAR,” a reference to the site’s early days and the mission statement of its founder, Andrew Breitbart.
A person who recently spoke with Bannon told CNNMoney that the now-former White House chief strategist will not stay quiet on the sidelines.
“It will be Bannon the barbarian,” the person said. “He’s not going to go out peacefully.”
Following news of Bannon’s exit, Breitbart started to prepare stories critical of people in the Trump White House, a person at the website told CNN. It’s most likely the site will not — for now at least — directly attack the President, but will focus its fire on people in Trump’s circle who had clashed with Bannon, or who are viewed as Democrats or “globalists.”
A senior administration official told CNNMoney that Bannon will indeed fight for nationalism and populism on the from outside the White House. “He can be helpful to POTUS on the outside. Others may need to duck,” the person said.
Ben Shapiro, a former editor at Breitbart who has been critical of Bannon and the website since he left, wrote in a column, “Bannon is deeply vengeful, and supremely ambitious. He has already held the most powerful job he will ever have — unless, of course, his new job is to destroy Trump from the outside.”
Not much will change
The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman reminds us, Steve Bannon is out. That’s good, but the problem is still Donald Trump. Exactly right. The fish rots from the head.
Jordan Weissmann adds at Slate, Steve Bannon May Be Leaving the White House, but His Worst Ideas Will Live On.