Steve Bannon, the ousted White House chief strategist, is reportedly considering starting a television network which would allow him to “go nuclear” as he settles vendettas with moderate advisers in the White House and pressures President Donald Trump to pursue a populist agenda of economic nationalism.
Allies of Mr Bannon compared him to a “tiger freed from his cage,” suggesting things would get “ugly” as he targets the Republican establishment and what he calls “West Wing Democrats”. …
A bad week for Trump:
He and first lady Melania Trump decided not to participate in the annual Kennedy Center Honours event celebrating American culture after a backlash from those being honoured. The White House said the first couple were pulling out to “allow the honourees to celebrate without any political distraction”.
Meanwhile, a host of charities canceled annual fundraising events at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. They included the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the American Cancer Society. …
White House personnel suggest a new tack?
Mr Bannon has few allies left within the White House promoting his agenda of economic nationalism. There was speculation that the few who remain, including senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, and deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, could be purged by John Kelly, the new chief of staff who is seeking to bring order to the chaotic administration.
Mr Kelly’s authority over the White House was boosted by Mr Bannon’s departure. A triumvirate of military generals – Mr Kelly, Mr McMaster, and Defence Secretary James Mattis – now hold extraordinary sway within the administration.
Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign adviser and friend of Mr Bannon, said: “It’s a tough pill to swallow because you have a Republican West Wing that’s filled with generals and Democrats. It would feel like the twilight zone.”
In a candid first interview after leaving, Mr Bannon told the Weekly Standard: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. The Republican establishment has no interest in Trump’s success. They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his programme. Zero. They’re going to try to moderate him.” …
Joel Pollak, Breitbart’s senior-editor-at-large, wrote: “It may turn out to be the beginning of the end for the Trump administration, the moment Donald Trump became Arnold Schwarzenegger,” referring to the former California governor’s “re-invention as a liberal”.
hat-tip Stephen Neil