Is Bannon in peril? Trump comments worry his populist base

Apr 14, 2017, 10:53
Is Bannon in peril? Trump comments worry his populist base

President Trump has taken chief strategist Stephen Bannon down a peg or two in public, but sources inside and outside the White House tell The Hill that they do not expect Bannon to be ousted despite mounting speculation that his firing is imminent.

He was kept on when Trump won the presidency as White House chief strategist and has been seen as an inspirational leader for Trump - populist, nativist and anti-globalist.

Bannon only got involved in his campaign "very late", Trump says. "I'm my own strategist, and it wasn't like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary".

Sessions added that he believes the president's agenda on immigration is "shared throughout the White House".

President Trump's business empire has always been a family affair and now his White House appears to be headed in the same direction.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Wednesday, Trump seemed to dismiss Bannon, an aide and campaign confidante he has known for at least five years, describing him simply as "a guy who works for me".

Xi's comments came after Trump tweeted that China should do more on an issue that Washington sees as an increasingly urgent threat, or else the US would go it alone.

"White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner is leading an unprecedented effort to meddle in the..." The White House downplayed the significance of the move, but officials close to the situation told the Guardian it was "huge" and "a big deal".

Bannon may have refined some of Trump's outreach to hate groups and their supporters, while also influencing policy choices in favor of that world view, but Trump was on this path long before Bannon officially joined the team. The adviser who pushed Donald Trump toward being a Republican who would fight for blue-collar workers - whether by playing to his backers' worst emotions or by promising new policies like a massive infrastructure project - is in eclipse. And that is leaving some conservatives afraid that Mr Bannon's possible removal could be a precursor to shelving the most complicated and contentious priorities.

Mr Kushner has also been helped by the ascendancy of administration moderates such as ex-Goldman Sachs executives Gary Cohn and Dina Powell.

Trump's relationship with Bannon became impossible to ignore as of November 2015 - four months into his presidential run - when the GOP frontrunner gave an interview to Bannon's Breitbart News Daily. At the same time, white supremacist Richard Spencer embraced the Trump candidacy and said, "I really do admire and respect what he's doing". He even put himself on the Principals Committee of the National Security Council, an unprecedented and unusual step for the president's top political strategist.

"I think it's important to recognize the value of the base".

As the Kushner-Bannon rivalry percolated in the media for a few days, the Anti-Defamation League issued a press release Monday headlined, "Explosive Growth of Hateful Memes and Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Against Jared Kushner".