Most people, regardless of political leanings, are very uncomfortable with the idea of former Breitbart head and known white supremacist Stephen K. Bannon working in the White House. But, work there he does, as Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist. Bannon is largely seen as instrumental in helping Trump win the White House, and he is also the link between Trump’s alt-right (read: white supremacist) base over at Breitbart and the White House. That could all be about to change, though.
There are mounting reports that Bannon is under fire and that Trump is considering replacing him. This is largely due to the very public feud the open bigot has been having with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner – who happens to be Jewish. That alone makes for a situation fraught with friction, considering Bannon’s views on race. Also, the feuding makes Trump look bad, generates bad headlines, and makes his White House look incompetent (hint: it IS incompetent).
The Wall Street Journal reported on the White House turmoil, saying that both Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Bannon are on the chopping block. It seems that Trump wants to move away from the far right and more toward the middle. Reportedly, Priebus is okay with this, but clearly an ideologue like Bannon would not be. This also begs the question of how much power Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, has in the West Wing as well, since he is as hard right as they come. Apparently, not very much if it’s the views of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump that are reigning supreme at this time.
Further, there is reporting that if Trump continues to go in this direction, Bannon may very well resign. He is averse to having the Democrats in the West Wing take over the White House.
associates of steve bannon say he will resign from @realDonaldTrump white house rather than take a complete back seat to dems in the admin
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) April 8, 2017
It is worth noting that Jared Kushner is a lifelong Democrat – though it is obviously unclear where he stands now, what with working in the Trump White House. The same is true of Ivanka Trump and Trump’s longtime confidante and current West Wing lawyer, Michael Cohen. Since Trump is a man with no real ideology of his own, it’s whoever is highest on the totem pole at any given moment who has his ear, and who will therefore shape policy. Since Bannon was removed from the National Security Council, it is clear that he has been demoted, whether the White House is admitting this or not. Further, visuals are very important to Trump, and all one has to do to see just how diminished Bannon’s role has become is to look at the photo taken in the makeshift Situation Room at Mar-a-Lago recently:
Of course, the public stance of the White House is that these rumors are “completely false.” But they have to say that, right? We won’t know for sure until someone exits stage left. The bottom line is this, though: if Kushner wins this battle and Bannon is either pushed out or resigns, it’s better for the nation. Further, if Bannon leaves, the rest of the alt-Right types will leave as well, and the left-leaning family members and long time confidantes will be the ones to have Trump’s ear. Also, his white supremacist base will turn on him, guaranteeing an election loss in 2020.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images