What the hell happened to Steve Bannon?

Steven Bannon, formerly of Breitbart.com and again formerly of Breitbart.com, has gone from bomb-throwing conservative to a guy who just makes me say “what the hell, dude?”

This all stems, of course, from the new book by author Michael Wolff entitled “Fire and Fury” which was released on January 5th. In the book Steve Bannon was interviewed and quoted a number of times. Let me make this clear up front, however, as I’d care to disavow two things I’ve heard mentioned from other folks on a number of social platforms.

  1. This book was not written by Steve Bannon and ghosted by Wolff;
  2. It is not about Bannon himself but about Trump’s past year in the White House.

That said, Steve Bannon is quoted widely on its pages. But let’s back up a bit. Vanity Fair published a December 21st article about Bannon:

“I HAVE POWER”: IS STEVE BANNON RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT?

by Gabriel Sherman

On a whirlwind tour around the globe, Trump’s former aide and alter ego reveals what really went down in the White House, his unfettered thoughts on Javanka, his complicated relationship with his erstwhile boss—and his own political ambitions.

Bannon’s core message—a clueless, corrupt ruling class (many of whom, of course, reside in blue states) has sold out American workers to a hegemonic China, and it’s up to a vanguard to take our country back before the world tips toward cataclysm—is the same, whether he’s speaking to Alabamian Roy Moore voters or Chinese dissidents. But he adjusts his vocabulary to fit his audience—here in Tokyo, he was in full prophetic mode.

On the whole I don’t overall disagree but would expand much past China. And I would include politicos on both sides of the aisle working at disassembling way too many working class or middle class individuals. Even more disappointing when done by what I term Republican EstabliHacks.

When he left the White House in August, Bannon said, “the Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over.” In private, Bannon told people he was disillusioned with Trump’s shambolic governing style. Trump, in turn, sees Bannon as a self-promoter. “The president views Steve as just a guy who works for him,” a White House official said.

While the two men harbor contempt for each other that can ignite into rage, they can’t quit each other, either. Since Bannon left the West Wing, he’s had five phone calls with Trump, most initiated by the president, according to the White House official. “The few conversations Steve and the president have had since he was fired this summer have primarily been opportunities for Steve to beg for his job back,” said the White House official. A Bannon spokesperson countered, “anyone around Steve since he left the White House can see he is very happy now out of the White House!”

Ah, the prototypical love/hate relationship. Then there was this.

In October, Bannon called an adviser and said he would consider running for president if Trump doesn’t run for re-election in 2020. Which Bannon has told people is a realistic possibility. In private conversations since leaving the White House, Bannon said Trump only has a 30 percent chance of serving out his term, whether he’s impeached or removed by the Cabinet invoking the 25th amendment. That prospect seemed to become more likely in early December when special counsel Robert Mueller secured a plea deal from former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Bannon has also remarked on the toll the office has taken on Trump, telling advisers his former boss has “lost a step.” “He’s like an 11-year-old child,” Bannon joked to a friend in November.

“He’s like an 11-year old child.” A Bannon quote. You’ll excuse me whilst I re-examine my confidence in Steve Bannon.

A prominent Republican described Bannon’s crusade as a vanity exercise doomed to fail. “I think there was a lot of rage when he was in the White House,” the Republican said. “Steve had to subsume his ego to Donald, who Steve thinks is dumb and crazy. With Steve, it’s not about building new things—it’s about destroying the old. I’m not sure he knows what he wants.”

One aside to Stevie: a few days’ growth of beard looks good on a young guy. On a guy in his 60s with jowl wattles it looks like homelessness. Hence my beard. And green military coats went out in the 70s. I wore one, for shite’s sake, because I perceived myself as cool. And it was inexpensive. Back then.

Over the weekend of May 6 and 7, Bannon was in Washington when Kushner, Ivanka, and Stephen Miller accompanied Trump to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the decision to fire Comey was finalized. The White House announced Comey’s dismissal on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 9. Bannon was furious when he found out. “It’s the dumbest political decision in modern political history, bar none. A self-inflicted wound of massive proportions,” he later said. “Especially in light of recent news, for the country, the president’s best decision was firing James Comey. His second best decision was firing Steve Bannon, bar none,” a White House official said.

And that is where Bannon and I immediately parted. Most ricky-tick.

The truth is this: Trump’s keeping Comey was a serious mistake. I suspect this was because he was providing Comey an actual chance. Mark one into the “Political Naivete Column” for Trump. But when Comey proved himself a legal dolt in 2016 with his Hillary Speech, I was done. Trump finally did the right thing regarding Comey. However, Trump should have fired Comey about ten seconds following his inauguration.

Bannon believed the Russia collusion case was meritless, but he blamed Kushner for taking meetings during the campaign that gave the appearance the Trump team sought Putin’s help. “He’s taking meetings with Russians to get additional stuff. This tells you everything about Jared,” Bannon told me. “They were looking for the picture of Hillary Clinton taking the bag of cash from Putin. That’s his maturity level.”

Hold that thought.

As the White House sinks deeper into scandal, along with Roy Moore’s crushing defeat, it’s hard not to see Trump and Bannon as survivors huddled together on a shrinking spit of dry land. Meanwhile, with 2018 looming, even Bannon recognizes the Democrats’ growing strength. “The reason the Democrats did so well in Virginia is because they’re angry. Anger gets people to do things. I admire that,” he said.

During one conversation this fall, Bannon seemed to accept that his campaign might not succeed. But he said people are mistaken if they equate losing elections with failure. “I’m not a political operative,” he said, “I’m a revolutionary.”

Okay. When you over-value yourself. Then there was the release of the book to which I’m referencing with this post.

“Fire and Fury” by Wolff provides all the fodder necessary for the continued Leftist drumbeat of “25th Amendment” and “Impeach 45” — it thusly goes on and on.

Jeff Dunetz says:

What I didn’t know until much later in the 2016 campaign was that Mr. Bannon could be ruthless towards people with whom he disagrees. That ruthlessness continued when he entered the White House and now that he’s left the administration, Bannon’s rage is directed toward the man he helped to elect.

Donald John Trump.

What “rage”? Well, how about some quotes attributed to Bannon pulled from the book “Fire and Fury” itself?

He is particularly scathing about a June 2016 meeting involving Trump’s son Donald Jr, son-in-law Jared Kushner, then campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in New York. A trusted intermediary had promised documents that would “incriminate” rival Hillary Clinton but instead of alerting the FBI to a potential assault on American democracy by a foreign power, Trump Jr replied in an email: “I love it.”

The meeting was revealed by the New York Times in July last year, prompting Trump Jr to say no consequential material was produced. Soon after, Wolff writes, Bannon remarked mockingly: “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.

“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 FBI immediately.”

Bannon went on, Wolff writes, to say that if any such meeting had to take place, it should have been set up “in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, with your lawyers who meet with these people”. Any information, he said, could then be “dump[ed] … down to Breitbart or something like that, or maybe some other more legitimate publication”.

But wait, there’s more. From TheGuardian.com:

Trump Tower meeting with Russians ‘treasonous’, Bannon says in explosive book

by David Smith

Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has described the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”, according to an explosive new book seen by the Guardian.

Bannon, speaking to author Michael Wolff, warned that the investigation into alleged collusion with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering and predicted: “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

Yes, we all know that Trump removed Bannon from the White House in August of last year. A war between Bannon and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly? Perhaps. But the book and the quotes smell like nothing more than a high and hearty “fuck you” to Bannon’s former employer. Well said and well played. Until perhaps you come to regret it. Is Bannon Brutus? Is he Dr Strangelove? Is he Jesus incarnate? Is he Colonel Kurtz? It varies on whom you ask.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, reportedly based on more than 200 interviews with the president, his inner circle and players in and around the administration, is one of the most eagerly awaited political books of the year. In it, Wolff lifts the lid on a White House lurching from crisis to crisis amid internecine warfare, with even some of Trump’s closest allies expressing contempt for him.

And like it or not, Steven Bannon rolled perfectly into the hands of author Michael Wolff. Whose agenda at least temporarily coincided with that of Bannon’s.

Let’s just cut to the chase for a moment. Here’s what I think happened: Bannon both vented and got played royally. Bannon was angry and ready to spew — which he did. You’ll note that at no time since has he walked any of the comments back with anything remotely resembling vehemence. I can only conclude he can’t argue their veracity.

People have emotions. I get it. They’re not gods; they’re human.

According to Wolff in his book, about Bannon:

“You realise where this is going,” he (Bannon) is quoted as saying. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”

Last month it was reported that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the German financial institution that has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kushner property empire. Bannon continues: “It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They’re going to go right through that. They’re going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me.”

Not really what I’d call “supporting your guy.”

Those quotes and the furor surrounding the book caused President Trump to issue this official response:

Statement from the President of the United States

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.

We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.

The American Media Maggots, of course, took the Wolff ball and ran.

The American Media Maggots of all stripes confirm: President Trump is just a dolt. It’s a wonder he can walk vertically on two legs for more than a few minutes.

Under a bit of a microscope, Steve Bannon began to rethink his position. Brian Stelter — he of the 2014 Lincoln MKX grille, said:

Steve Bannon said (according to Axios):

  • Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.”
  • “My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda — as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama.”
  • “President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus. I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breech for this president’s efforts to make America great again.”
  • “My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years when our focus was the defeat of ‘the evil empire’ and to making films about Reagan’s war against the Soviets and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in selling uranium to them.”
  • “My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.”
  • “I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”
  • “Everything I have to say about the ridiculous nature of the Russian ‘collusion’ investigation I said on my 60 Minutes interview. There was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt.”

Let’s be honest. The Trump – Bannon alliance is done. Trump doesn’t forgive and forget and neither does Bannon. Both have massive egos. The problem is that one was in a larger position of power. Bannon forgot that concept.

Then Trump did something inconceivable. He proved he’s not a dolt for an hour, live, on national television. He allowed cameras into a bipartisan meeting on immigration on Tuesday.

Of course, according to the American Media Maggots, he saved up for the past ten years to portray his seeming competence.

Let me be plain. I liked the DC “bull in a china shop” attitude of both Trump and Bannon. But when they fail to serve me I turn like an abject fickle, capricious and mercurial Elder American Taxpayer. I have seniority. And I demand response. Not next month or next year or a decade from now. Screw that. I want change ASAP and I don’t care who gets hurt in the process.

Bannon is gone. He made his bed. He had conscious choices to make. He made them. He’s dead to me. And likely to Trump as well. Yeah yeah yeah. Bannon “did this and he did that.”

But — as my bosses always evaluated me: “but what have you done for us lately?”

You had choices, Bannon.

You made them.

BZ

 

3 thoughts on “What the hell happened to Steve Bannon?

  1. Read the book on the weekend, can’t say that I was impressed with the writing style – the guy is just too long winded for me. There wasn’t really that much in there that hadn’t been reported already. Though I did find it interesting that Spicer was, apparently, respected before he had to support Trump’s assertion that there were more people at his inauguration than Obama’s. I found the transcript of Trump’s speech at the CIA toe curling….but that is all old news…..oops sorry fake news!

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