Bannon ready to wage war against White House moderates from the outside
Whether he quit or was shown the door is semantics at this point but Steve Bannon had clearly lost the President’s ear and the ability to shape his agenda.
“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon told the Weekly Standard. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”
Bannon will take up the reigns of Breitbart once again.
“Now, I’m free,” he said. “I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, ‘It’s Bannon the Barbarian.’ I am definitely going to crush the opposition. There’s no doubt. I built a f***ing machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up, we will do.”
The target of his attacks will be the ‘globalists’ and liberals he believes have taken over the White House. They include National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, advisor Gary Cohn, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Bannon conceded likely defeat on the things his base campaigned for.
“The path forward on things like economic nationalism and immigration, and his ability to kind of move freely,” he said. “I just think his ability to get anything done-particularly the bigger things, like the wall, the bigger, broader things that we fought for, it’s just gonna be that much harder.”
He also warned about what he called a ‘jailbreak’ of moderate Republicans.
“It’s the Republican establishment. The Republican establishment has no interest in Trump’s success on this. They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his program. Zero. It was a half-hearted attempt at Obamacare reform, it was no interest really on the infrastructure, they’ll do a very standard Republican version of taxes.
“What Trump ran on — border wall, where is the funding for the border wall, one of his central tenets, where have they been? Have they rallied around the Perdue-Cotton immigration bill? On what element of Trump’s program, besides tax cuts-which is going to be the standard marginal tax cut-where have they rallied to Trump’s cause? They haven’t.”
Bannon expects a more moderate Trump from here, “much more conventional”.
What will be interesting to see is how Trump’s message evolves. His alt-right allies have been virtually purged from the White House so he has the option of sounding and acting like a more centrist President or continuing with his usual rhetoric. He won’t want to risk losing his base but it sounds like Bannon is going to be attacking Trump’s inner circle so it will be a delicate balance.
In terms of what comes next, the debt ceiling will be telling. I wrote on Friday about how a US government shutdown is likely to be the next crisis on the agenda.