“Bannon the Barbarian” has been spending a lot of time talking to reporters since being fired by President Donald Trump on Friday. During an interview with Bloomberg, his first after being relieved of his duties as Trump’s chief strategist and returning to his former leadership role at Breitbart, Bannon claimed that he was going “to war” for Trump, and that he would marshal the resources of Breitbart, the Government Accountability Institute and the power and rage of Trump’s base against any establishment Republicans and Democrats who stand in the way of the president’s nationalist agenda.
He repeated his warnings against establishment Republicans during an interview with The Washington Post on Saturday, saying that the president’s enemies in Congress should either fall in line or risk being targeted.
“In an interview in Washington on Saturday, Bannon warned Republican leaders to enthusiastically support Trump’s priorities on taxes, trade and funding a massive border wall — or risk the wrath of the president’s base, including Breitbart, to which Bannon returned Friday as executive chairman.”
If Republicans enthusiastically support Trump’s priorities on taxes, trade and funding a massive border wall, everything will be “sweetness and light,” Bannon said. However, he doesn’t expect moderates to capitulate so easily.
“’If the Republican Party on Capitol Hill gets behind the president on his plans and not theirs, it will all be sweetness and light, be one big happy family,’ Bannon said. But Bannon added with a smile that he does not expect “sweetness” anytime soon — and described the turbulent political moment in the Republican Party and the country as a necessary battle over Trump’s priorities.”
In what sounds like an implicit threat against Gary Cohn and the other purported “globalists” in Trump’s orbit, Bannon complained that the White House has become hopelessly divided on its priorities and agenda because of the ongoing battle between Trump’s Nationalist base and Trump’s more mainstream advisers a group that includes not only Cohn but the President’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“No administration in history has been so divided among itself about the direction about where it should go,” Bannon said, adding that Trump’s base is frustrated by a congressional agenda that has dovetailed more with traditional Republican priorities than the agenda Trump championed.”
Several of Bannon’s friends told WaPo that the former top strategist would probably be more effective outside the White House.
“Several friends and former co-workers said that they expect Bannon to use the platform to attack his political opponents, including those he has derided as “globalists” and Democrats inside the White House.
‘I think Steve is going to be more effective on the outside,’ said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a longtime friend of Bannon. ‘On the outside, if you are well-funded and you are feared and you have a platform, you are going to be a power player. Steve has all of that in spades.’”
Most agreed that Bannon would probably retain at least some of his influence with the president, who has been known to call former advisers late in the evening after Chief of Staff John Kelly has left for the day.
“With Donald Trump, once he likes you, you’re either in his inner orbit, or you’re in his outer orbit,” said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. “You never leave altogether.”
To a degree, the White House’s feuding factions represent broader national divisions, Bannon said.
“The tensions in the White House are slightly different than the tensions in the country. It’s still a divided country. Fifty percent of the people did not support President Trump. Most of those people do not support his policies in any way, shape or form,” Bannon said.
Bannon also warned that both Republicans and Democrats weren’t paying enough attention to working people around the country.
“Bannon said both Republicans and Democrats will need to pay close attention to the anxiety among many working people in the country over economic opportunity and national identity, even as they work to settle their turf fights in Washington.”
Everybody in Washington already knows that Bannon’s resources in the coming battle for the soul of the Trump presidency are nearly limitless: He has the backing of the family of billionaire Robert Mercer, an early supporter of president Trump, and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer, was an executive on the president’s transition team. Presumably, he’s telling every reporter who will listen about his war plans as a scare tactic. Bannon, who developed a reputation as an untrustworthy leaker at the White House, has never had a reputation for subtlety.
President Trump has praised Bannon publicly and congratulated his move back to Breitbart, saying “fake news” like CNN could use the competition.
Steve Bannon will be a tough and smart new voice at @BreitbartNews…maybe even better than ever before. Fake News needs the competition!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2017
But while Chief of Staff John Kelly, Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn and maybe even Kushner and Ivanka Trump are probably celebrating Bannon’s departure from the West Wing, the question is, will Bannon be a bigger threat to the Trump-team globalists from outside the White House than he was on the inside?
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