Bannon Fired: Strategic Move, or Unexpected Cave To Liberals?
Steve Bannon has left his White House position after calls for his removal as the White House Chief Strategist in the wake of clashes between protesters and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, North Carolina. He is returning to Breitbart, so he may not lose much, but this doesn’t change the fact that he is the fourth senior official to leave the Trump Administration in the past month and the second Trump appointee to resign since General Kelly was appointed as Chief of Staff.
The timing of this particular departure from the Trump Administration does make it look as if Trump could have canned Bannon as a form of damage control. Critics of Trump’s response to last weekend’s clashes said that Bannon probably had a heavy influence on that response, in which Trump blamed both sides for the violence.
Did Trump actually cave to leftists? That might seem unlikely on the face of it when Trump has spent so much of the first seven months of his presidency attempting to undo President Obama’s legacy. The New York Times called Bannon a “caustic presence in a chaotic White House” who often clashed with other staffers when discussing important topics like trade deals, taxes, immigration, and the role of government in American citizens’ daily lives. Bannon was even heard to say that other staffers were “wetting themselves” over changes that Trump wanted to make to trade policy.
If true, this may explain hints that Trump might have been tiring of Bannon’s effect on his administration even before the events in Charlottesville. So it may be entirely possible that Trump was looking for a reason to sack Bannon anyway and calls for Bannon’s firing gave him exactly the excuse he needed. This sends the message that Trump would rather be perceived as caving to leftists than keep a possible liability in his administration.
Bannon’s departure is especially seen as a victory for Trump’s new chief of staff, General Kelly, who has stated that one of his goals is to impose discipline on a White House that has been seen as chaotic since Trump took office. Kelly had especially expressed a desire to crack down on leaks to the press and Trump has apparently suspected Bannon of being the source of a significant percentage of those leaks. This has led to speculation that Bannon’s return to Breitbart could have the effect of opening the floodgate with information that could bring down his rivals in the White House.
However, one does wonder what Kelly gets out of it beyond the chance to fill the chief strategist role with an appointee selected by him. Perhaps he simply saw Bannon as an obstacle to good discipline in the White House and saw Charlottesville as an opportunity to show the chief strategist the door.
Bannon Down But Not Out?
Bannon’s ouster (or resignation, depending on who you ask) does not mean that he is going to completely disappear from public view. He is returning to his previous role as executive chairman of Breitbart, which he headed before joining the Trump team. Comments he made to Bloomberg indicates that he still supports Trump despite what he calls a mutual agreement to leave the administration:
“I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents – on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,” he said.
Sources close to Bannon have implied that the mitts are off now that Bannon is no longer shackled by a position at the White House and he may even take the occasional swing at the president when he feels like Trump deserves it. However, he is expected to primarily use Breitbart’s clout as a conservative publication to fight for positions that both he and Trump have expressed support for. Speculation that he will go after remaining rivals in the White House may not be entirely false, as there are still several holdovers from the Obama Administration in influential positions.
— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) August 20, 2017
“Winter is here,” one anonymous source called Fox News in a reference to the popular HBO series Game of Thrones.
Bannon may also have Trump’s ear on an unofficial basis, as both he and Trump have often expressed their opposition to globalists who do not necessarily have the United States’ best interests in mind. Although Trump seemed eager to downplay Bannon’s influence on his presidential campaign, he also said, “I like Mr. Bannon. He’s a friend of mine.”
So Bannon is back at Breitbart and he is unlikely to go away anytime soon. So Trump may or may not have caved to liberals. Either way, liberals may regret that they ever pushed for Bannon’s departure from the White House because he’s now in a position where he doesn’t necessarily have to watch what he says in public. Breitbart has a large audience and all the influence that comes with it and now Steve Bannon may be a media man with an even bigger grudge against leftists.