This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 21, 2017:
It didn’t take Steve Bannon – Trump’s chief political strategist – very long to bid adieu and pick up where he left off at Breitbart. On Friday he explained his widely anticipated departure:
On August 7th, I talked to [Chief of Staff John] Kelly and to the President, and I told them that my resignation would be effective the following Monday, on the 14th. I’d always planned on spending one year. General Kelly has brought in a great new system, but I said it would be best [to leave]. I want to get back to Breitbart.
On Friday night, he was back at work as Executive Chairman at Breitbart, saying:
In many ways I think I can be more effective fighting from the outside for the agenda President Trump ran on. And anyone who stands in our way, we will go to war with.
Bannon called an “all-hands” meeting upon his return to Breitbart to plot strategy for those standing in the way.
It was this “my way or the highway” approach that brought Bannon into the Trump administration in August 2016, and it was the primary reason, according to many, that forced his departure. His ideology closely matched Trump’s, and Bannon’s ability to translate that ideology into votes won Trump the presidency. Bannon advocated reductions in immigration and redrawing various trade agreements, particularly with China and Mexico. He supported significant spending on infrastructure, but was opposed to government bailouts, calling them “socialism for the very wealthy.” He pushed to shrink the administrative state and strongly opposed the Paris climate “agreement.”
The New York Times admitted Bannon’s influence on policy was significant:
Bannon was nevertheless a driving force behind the president’s most high-profile policies: imposing a ban on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries; shrinking the federal bureaucracy; shedding regulations; and rethinking trade policies by aggressively confronting China and other countries.
Where he got sideways, however, was with his support of increasing the tax rate on those earning $5 million a year or more to 44% to help pay for middle class tax cuts and his skepticism not only of continuing U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan and the Syrian Civil War, but also in threatening military involvement in the Venezuelan crisis.
Bannon’s coup d’état, however, was self-inflicted. He called Robert Kuttner, the co-founder and co-editor of the virulently anti-Trump American Prospect, on Tuesday afternoon last week, catching Kuttner by surprise. Wrote Kuttner: “I never expected a phone call from Bannon: the Prospect, after all, is a proudly liberal and defiantly anti-Trump journal.”
Bannon was completely forthcoming on a number of issues that contradicted policies of Trump and his administration. Although Bannon said later that he thought the conversation was off the record, Kuttner said Bannon was just too “savvy” to make a mistake like that. Kuttner recorded and then printed segments of the conversation. Bannon told Kuttner:
We’re at economic war with China. It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path. On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow….
To me, the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover.
As for North Korea, Bannon said that China is just using the fat boy running the place as a foil, telling Kuttner that “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that the ten million people in Seoul [South Korea’s capital just 35 miles from the border] don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s no military solution there. They’ve got us.”
That roundly contradicts President Trump’s strategy and was the final straw for his Chief of Staff John Kelly. Bannon’s plan was to “run the table” against the Chinese, telling Kuttner that he urged the president to file a complaint under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act against the Chinese coercion of technology transfers from American corporations as a condition for doing business there, and then follow them up with complaints under the Act for Chinese dumping of aluminum and steel. Bannon told Kuttner: “We’re going to run the tables on these guys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us.”
Since Kelly’s arrival – touted as just the man to restore order in the West Wing – several heads have rolled, including that of Reince Priebus, whom Kelly replaced as Trump’s Chief of Staff. Others included Anthony Scaramucci and Michael Dubke, both of whom served as Trump’s communications director, Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security advisor, and Sean Spicer, his press secretary.
Roger Stone, an advisor to the Trump campaign, came down hard on Bannon just the day before he departed the White House. Writing in the Daily Caller, Stone said:
The President is very angry about Bannon’s vanity biography “Devil’s Bargain,” the subtitle of which is “Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and The Storming of the Presidency.” Every other page is a love letter to the brilliance of Steven K. Bannon….
White Bannon chafed with the influence of Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, he would never oppose him frontally, and he never even lifted a finger against the appointment of quislings like Dina Habib Powell [Trump’s National Security Advisor] and Goldman Sachs’ Gary Cohn….
Bannon did nothing to dissuade the President from endorsing Mitch McConnell’s candidate in the Alabama Special Election primary [Luther Strange], which sent a clear message to Republicans in Congress that you can thwart the President and there are no consequences.
Stone’s biggest problem, however, was Bannon’s sellout to globalists:
Bannon engineered the ascent of Rex Tillerson at State despite the fact that Tillerson’s patron and chief influence is non-other than Condoleezza Rice, the neocon former Bush NSA Director and cheerleader for the Iraq war. Documents which leaked from the Presidential transition proved that Rice was Tillerson’s advocate and that several other staffers she recommended were quickly hired at State. Perhaps this is why Politico correctly tabbed the rise of veteran Romney-ites at State … Bannon delivered the Trump State Department into the hands of the Globalists….
Bannon is taking the battle back to Breitbart because, with his departure, he thinks the Trump presidency is over. He told The Weekly Standard on Friday:
The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. We still have a huge movement, and we [at Brietbart] will make something of this Trump presidency. But that Presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.
The Daily Caller: Roger Stone: Bannon’s Time Is Up
The New York Times: Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run
Newsmax.com: Kelly’s Growing Influence Shown With Bannon’s Ouster
Newsmax.com: 6 Reasons Steve Bannon Was Pushed Out
American Prospect: Steve Bannon, Unrepentant
The Weekly Standard: Bannon: ‘The Trump Presidency That We Fought For, and Won, Is Over.’