The Twilight Of Bannonism
In the book, Mr. Bannon was quoted suggesting that Donald Trump Jr., the future president’s son; Jared Kushner, his son-in-law; and Paul J. Manafort, then the campaign chairman, had been “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” for meeting with Russians offering incriminating information on Hillary Clinton during a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower.
“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers,” Mr. Bannon said after The New York Times revealed the meeting in July 2017, according to Mr. Wolff’s book.
“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the F.B.I. immediately,” Mr. Bannon continued, according to the book.
According to Mr. Wolff, Mr. Bannon also predicted that a special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and any coordination with Trump aides would ultimately center on money laundering, an assessment that could lend credibility to an investigation the president has repeatedly called a witch hunt. “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,” Mr. Bannon was quoted as saying.
To which the president responded, in part:
Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.
Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base—he’s only in it for himself.
Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.
Read the whole Trump statement here. It’s smoking hot.
You might also want to read this excerpt from Michael Wolff’s book.
It’s hard to know what to believe with this crowd. But this one thing is true: Bannon is over. He lost his White House job, and he has been a disaster as a political consultant. Now he’s stabbed Trump in the back. Even if he’s telling the truth here, it’s a truth that people either already believed, or if they didn’t believe it before, will refuse to believe it now. Either way, he’s done. This:
The only thing I know is true about the Wolff excerpt is that Steve Bannon had a chance to be a genuinely significant figure in American politics and he blew it.
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) January 3, 2018
I did not like Bannon’s style, and didn’t agree with all of his politics, but his views on trade and globalism were the most interesting and hopeful thing about a Trump presidency. Now that Bannon has trashed his old boss without first having established himself as a political force, he is GOP kryptonite. Neither anti-Trump nor pro-Trump Republicans will trust him. Who, exactly, does he speak for now? Who, if anybody, on the Right will advance the ideas with which he was associated?