President Trump appears to be getting impatient with the infighting between his closest advisers.
The White House is becoming increasingly split between Steve Bannon, who favours a more nationalist approach to domestic and foreign policy, and Jared Kushner and senior economic adviser Gary Cohn, both of whom have tried to bring the president toward the center on key issues such as immigration reform.
Trump has not been impervious to the strained relationship between his closest confidants, and he issued a warning to his inner circle on Thursday at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Axios. “You guys are close. Knock it off. Work together,” Trump said. The New York Times reported that the order was aimed at Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus, regarding the increased squabbling between Bannon, Kushner, and Cohn.
Tensions between the two camps had been simmering for some time, and finally boiled over in the last week as a string of controversies engulfed the West Wing. That included rumours of a staff shake-up, Bannon’s removal from the National Security Council, and reports that Bannon called Kushner a “cuck” and a “globalist” behind his back while the latter was on a trip to Iraq.
Trump’s order to his staff came on the heels of Bannon’s removal from the NSC, after which allies said Bannon had gone “full honey badger.” That’s in reference to the motto of Breitbart News, which Bannon once spearheaded: “Honey badger don’t give a s—.”
Nevertheless, Bannon, Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Priebus met on Friday, the day after the president ordered them to work together. The meeting was “100% focused” on pushing the president’s agenda forward, a source told Axios.
And though Bannon, a hardline isolationist, had argued against US intervention in Syria, his allies said on Saturday that incoming domestic policies would be more aligned with his views. Conversely, allies of Kushner and Cohn have said that the president will put forth an agenda that favours more centrist policies on key issues.
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