My thoughts on the Steve Bannon/Donald Trump kerfuffle

Trump and Steve Bannon

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that a feud has erupted between Steve Bannon and President Trump.

It all began with the release of an excerpt from a book by Michael Wolff called Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

And in his book, Wolff has some very scathing quotes from a number of Trump insiders including Steve Bannon.

The legitimacy of these quotes is in question.

I mean, hey. If Clinton gal Maggie Haberman from the New York Times is calling out the lies, you know it must be bad.

Any old how.

According to Wolff’s “account,” Steve Bannon claimed that the Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr. and the Russian lawyer babe was “treasonous.”

Now, on its face, this seems too outlandish to be believed.

And given those tweets from Haberman, I’m guessing it’s either exaggerated or a flat-out lie.

Either way, President Trump responded.

The White House released a statement from Mr. Trump that said:

Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.
Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base—he’s only in it for himself.

Let me stop here for a moment.

I think this is getting to the heart of why President Trump would release this statement.

It has taken a year for the Republicans in Congress and President Trump to find a working relationship. And knowing the kind of man Donald Trump is, I am certain he has spent a great deal of time winning them over and getting them on board with his agenda.

Then Steve Bannon split the Republican vote by promoting Roy Moore in the Alabama run-off while President Trump campaigned for Luther Strange.

As a result, Republicans lost what should have been a gimme Senate seat.

Moving on:

Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.

Ouch. President Trump isn’t just slamming Bannon. He’s circling him seven times while blowing a ram’s horn. Then setting him on fire.

[Okay, if you don’t know the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho, that bit won’t make sense.]

This is the first I’ve heard that Bannon may have been behind some of the White House leaks.

If it’s true, then screw him.

And finally:

We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.

And there it is.

Read that paragraph again. Because I think that’s the whole reason Trump responded at all.

To tell you the truth, if I had to guess, I’d say President Trump doesn’t believe Bannon said the things attributed to him in this book.

But Donald Trump is an expert at exploiting opportunities.

And I think he sees this as an opportunity to discredit Steve Bannon before the 2018 Midterms.

As I said, after a year of working to bring the Republicans together, the last thing President Trump wants is Steve Bannon pulling another Roy Moore-size defeat on a larger scale during the Midterms.

Bannon hurt the MAGA agenda by depriving the thin Republican majority in the Senate of a much-needed seat.

And the best way to make sure Bannon’s field of influence shrinks substantially before the Midterm elections is to set fire to his reputation. If that happens, I’m thinking no Republican candidate for Congress will want anything to do with him.

Now, I could be wrong.

But that’s my theory.

Trump wants a big win for the Republicans in 2018.

And after what happened in Alabama, I think President Trump sees Steve Bannon as an obstacle to that.

As I said after the Alabama race:

The other thing I’ve learned from this Alabama race is the brains behind the Trump 2016 campaign was Donald J. Trump, not Steve Bannon.
And Bannon without Trump is like sour cream without the baked potato.
Or, in keeping with current events: Bannon without Trump is like Diet Coke without the carbonation.
Bannon tried to recreate the irreverent, no-holds-barred attitude of Donald Trump for the Moore campaign.
But without Trump, it just doesn’t work.
And not just because Roy Moore is no Donald Trump.
Where Trump can get away with hurling over-the-top insults at his opponents, Bannon can’t.
Trump is unique – he’s one-of-a-kind.
And trying to use the Trump technique without Trump clearly didn’t work in Alabama.
Hopefully Bannon figures out a way to be a benefit to the Trump agenda in the 2018 midterms.
Because in Alabama, Bannon too doubted Trump’s instincts and backed the wrong horse.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with running against the entrenched political establishment that is standing in the way of Trump’s agenda.
But I can’t help but feel like Bannon’s ego is standing in the way too.

And I think this statement from President Trump was his way of letting a little air out of Steve Bannon’s ego.

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5 thoughts on “My thoughts on the Steve Bannon/Donald Trump kerfuffle

  • January 3, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Trump says, “Steve had very little to do with our historic victory,” yet less than a week after the election Trump appoints Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor to the President-elect — not bad for someone who had little to do with the historic victory. Sorry POTUS, but I’m calling “Bulls**t” on your Bannon tweet.

    • January 3, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      The truth is, Bannon always gave himself too much credit for Trump’s victory. And if Alabama is any indication, Bannon’s inflated view of his king-making abilities was highly over-inflated. The reason is obvious. Trump, not Bannon, got Trump elected. And I think after he won, Trump began to see the same thing many people outside the White House saw: Bannon’s ego was getting the better of him. Right or wrong, there is going to be only one rooster in the Trump White House. And it wasn’t going to be Steve Bannon. You add to that the fact that Bannon was leaking to the media, it isn’t surprising to me if Trump began to marginalize him. He doesn’t always pick the best people. But, if he knows he picked a dud, he doesn’t hang on to them, but instead jettisons them quickly. That’s the way I see it. Not being inside the White House myself, it’s partly conjecture.

  • January 4, 2018 at 7:45 am

    With all of the noise out there, thank-you for putting it together.

    To reiterate: Trump looks like a winner. Bannon jumps on the band wagon. After the finish line Bannon tries to grab the reins and pretend that he’s in charge. Then he gets the boot.

    I guess you don’t have to be on the left to be a turkey.

    • January 4, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      “Trump looks like a winner.” Really? Don’t get me wrong, I want Trump to succeed, but something is wrong with this Trump-Bannon picture.

      If Bannon had nothing to do with the Trump campaign strategy (as Trump claims), why did Trump pick him ahead of others who were involved in strategy to be his “Chief Strategist” in the WH? Doesn’t sound very smart of Trump to pick a non-strategy guy to be his chief strategist.

      If Bannon was actually involved in campaign strategy (which would then make sense of his selection to be chief strategist), why did Trump say Bannon “had very little to do with our historic victory”? It seems to me a strategist is very much involved in securing victory.

      Either way, it appears to me that Trump comes off as either telling an untruth about Bannon’s role in the campaign, or, Trump is very bad at picking people for key jobs. I think both explanations probably have merit — Trump does hold grudges and Bannon did insult Don Jr.; and Trump has not had rousing success in his appointments (e.g., Flynn, Sessions, Priebus, Scaramucci, Price, Spicer, Bannon, among others).

  • January 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

    This is hands down the best analysis I have read on this particular situation across the blogosphere.

    Very well done Dianny!

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