Is Bannon in Peril? Trump Comments Worry His Populist Base

by Abel Hampton April 16, 2017, 1:07
Is Bannon in Peril? Trump Comments Worry His Populist Base

President Donald Trump walking across the South Lawn toward the White House, March 5, 2017.

Bannon's allies argue that there were sound reasons for Trump's policy swings, but he has had an especially bad recent stretch, beginning with his removal from the principals committee of the National Security Council on April 4 - the first official sign of Trump's discontent.

The Washington Post talked to 21 Trump aides on Wednesday and came away with a picture of a chief strategist who's struggling to build good will in the White House.

President Donald Trump has declared: "I am my own strategist".

"I like Steve, but you have to remember, he was not involved in my campaign until very late", Trump said in an interview with the Post's Michael Goodwin. He is keenly aware of when Bannon joined the team and, more to the point, how far he'd gone without him.

As president, Trump appears to have now gotten a reality check and accepted it. Bannon and his Alt-Right minions haven't yet. Bannon during that time period was also acting as the political consigliere of the Mercer family, who initially supported Trump primary rival Ted Cruz. "On Wednesday, President Trump announced that he plans to use the powers of his office to jeopardize health care access for millions of low-income people, while destabilizing America's insurance markets - because he believes that voters will blame the ensuing chaos on the Democratic Party, leaving Chuck Schumer desperate to negotiate with the White House over Obamacare repeal", Eric Levitz reports for NY magazine.

The New York Times' Jeremy W. Peters and Maggie Haberman report that Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of Robert Mercer, is already "discussing possibilities for Mr. Bannon should he leave" the Trump administration. While the White House is saying that this was always part of the plan, inside sources have claimed otherwise.

The sad truth is that removing Bannon because of an ongoing fight between him and Jared Kushner would in no way be a repudiation of that ideology. Reports have surfaced about the business ties of former campaign aides as well as friction among high level advisers, including Steve Bannon and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Bannon is seen as increasingly isolated within the White House, particularly after the health care debacle. He has a brand of his own to protect, and if he falls out of favor in the White House, he'll remain a prominent political figure with an enviable soapbox. He has reportedly taken to mocking media coverage of the breadth of Kushner's vast portfolio; but he has also taken to evicting Bannon from some meetings, telling him that his presence is not required.

Then in a February interview with Chris Matthews on Hardball, Conway referenced an event allegedly perpetrated by Iraqi terrorists that she coined the "Bowling Green massacre" while defending Trump's immigration ban.

Trump's grass roots base didn't vote for Bannon for president, they voted for Trump.

Says Ryun: "Kushner is family". And even if Bannon is retained, it could be challenging for such boisterous and aggressive operators to continue to serve a president who so dissed him in public. "Rebekah Mercer, who directs the family's political activities, is unnerved and anxious about losing her best link to a president her family takes credit for helping get elected but believes Bannon will be able to maintain his influence, people close to the family said".

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