Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSteve Bannon.
Steve Bannon, who stepped down as White House chief strategist on Friday, said the Trump presidency he fought for is over.
- Bannon jabbed his former White House enemies and the Washington establishment he accused of stonewalling Trump’s agenda.
- He returned to the right-wing news outlet Breitbart on Friday, vowing to fight Trump’s opponents.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon offered his predictions about how the Trump administration will evolve now that he is no longer working for the president.
Bannon said that while he expects Trump to take a more “conventional” legislative path going forward, certain influences in the White House and on Capitol Hill could ultimately hinder the radical changes Trump promised on the campaign trail.
Bannon, who reassumed his executive role at the right-wing website Breitbart News on Friday, told The Weekly Standard in an interview: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over, ” he said, referring to the populist tone of the president’s 2016 campaign.
“We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It will 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,” Bannon said. He added that it would be a miscalculation to assume Trump will change.
“His actual default position is the position of his base,” Bannon said. “I think you saw it this week on Charlottesville.”
Bannon blamed “West Wing Democrats” — a title sometimes used to describe the president’s close advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner — and blamed Washington establishment figures who he believes stymied Trump’s aggressive legislative agenda. “What Trump ran on — border wall, where is the funding for the border wall, one of his central tenets, where have they been,” Bannon asked of the establishment. “On what element of Trump’s program, besides tax cuts — which is going to be the standard marginal tax cut — where have they rallied to Trump’s cause? They haven’t,” he said.
While some reports suggested Bannon and Trump had fallen out, The New Yorker painted a different picture in a story on Bannon published in June. A Republican source close to the White House told reporter Ryan Lizza that Bannon and Trump are more like-minded than some people realise:
“Imagine you have a seventy-something-year-old very strong personality in the family,” the Republican said. “And he’s got his golfing buddy who is his best friend. And they go off golfing and drinking and smoking cigars. What he really wants to do is smoke cigars. But the family is telling him, ‘Smoking cigars is really bad for you and the doctor told you not to do it.’ He’s, like, ‘I know, I know.'”
“So when he’s around his family, he’s, like, ‘Look, I’m not smoking cigars!’ And then he goes off with his golf buddy. And guess what they do? They fucking light up cigars, because that’s actually who he is and what he thinks. And Bannon is like his golfing buddy that he goes and smokes cigars with. That’s actually who he is.”
Observers said that Bannon’s departure from the White House on Friday has energised him. Breitbart’s White House correspondent Charlie Spierling tweeted that Bannon had returned to the right-wing website as executive chairman and led the news outlet’s evening editorial meeting.
In a separate interview on Friday, Bannonlaid out his post-White House plan: “If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America.”
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