Tag Archives: Stephen Bannon

Firing Comey a big mistake? Yeah … do ya think?

I didn’t expect to agree with Stephen K. Bannon on anything.

But you know what? The former chief strategist for Donald John Trump Sr. said something on “60 Minutes” that makes me rethink that notion.

He said the president’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey is the “biggest political mistake in recent political history.”

I believe Bannon is on to something.

Trump canned Comey because of the “Russia thing.” He said initially the Russia probe wasn’t a factor; Vice President Mike Pence said the same thing. Then the president blabbed to NBC News anchor Lester Holt that, yep, Russia was the reason.

Then came Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who was hired by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to become special counsel. Mueller is off and running; he has hired a crack team of legal eagles; the “Russia thing” is getting pretty damn serious.

Mueller is examining whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian computer hackers who sought to meddle in our electoral process in 2016. He is going full bore, as he should. Had the president not fired Comey, Bannon said, there would be no Mueller, no special counsel, no need for concern among Trumpkins that Mueller has smelled blood in the political water.

Bannon is a tremendously objectionable character. He is back where he came from, as editor in chief of Breitbart News. Bannon had no business in the West Wing. His political experience is just a shade greater than Donald Trump, who had none before he entered the 2016 presidential campaign. Bannon is a right-wing provocateur and political hack who once sat on the “principals committee” of the National Security Council. Then the president wised up and removed him.

However, Bannon is likely quite correct about what Trump may have done to his presidency by kicking Comey out the door and ushering in the Age of Mueller.

And isn’t it fascinating that someone who professes such admiration for Donald Trump might have given the special counsel — Mueller — an even more inviting target by talking about potentially grievous political consequences the president has delivered to himself?

Bannon got the boot, but he’s still around

I am going to admit something that critics of this blog will applaud: I am wrong far more than I am right.

So, when I am right — or when my suspicion turns out to be correct — I feel a need to call attention to it.

Stephen K. Bannon got the boot recently as one of Donald Trump’s key White House advisers. Chief of staff John Kelly showed Bannon the door. My suspicion was that Bannon wouldn’t disappear entirely, that he’d remain a factor in the president’s policymaking.

Dammit anyway! Bannon appears to be hanging around.

Here is what I posted on Aug. 20:

Bannon’s gone, but is he … really?

Bannon returned to his roots, as editor of the far-right-wing publication Breitbart News. He reportedly chats with the president, according to sources in the White House, when John Kelly isn’t around. Think about that for a moment. Does that sound like the action of a junior high schooler who steals a cigarette from Dad when the old man is looking the other way?

The bigger issue, though, is that Bannon’s ultra-right-wing world view — his anti-globalism, uber nationalistic, allegedly racist ideology — will continue to help inform whatever passes for policy from the president.

Bannon is a scary dude. He didn’t belong on the National Security Council. Trump eventually removed him from that post. He didn’t belong anywhere near the Oval Office, but there he was, sitting next to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law who also has no business being near the center of power.

So he gets shown the door out the back of the West Wing. He now vows to be Trump’s “wing man,” that he’ll work to keep the GOP based fired up and putting pressure on the president to do their bidding.

Bannon is no longer employed by the White House. If only he was actually gone.

Bannon’s gone, but is he … really?

Stephen K. Bannon’s departure from the West Wing of the White House has been hailed as a victory for sanity and reason.

But is he gone? Really gone? Will the alt-right guru disappear into the mist, or into the swamp? Don’t hold your breath, dear reader.

Bannon served as “senior strategist” for Donald Trump. He is an avid “anti-globalist.” He takes pride in steering the president toward his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord and for terminating the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Bannon also has been waging a feud with the reasonable elements of the Trump administration. He and national security adviser H.R. McMaster didn’t get along. It then fell to White House chief of staff John Kelly — like McMaster, a general-grade military man — to engineer Bannon’s departure.

So, he’s no longer checking in at the White House.

Bannon has returned his former post, as editor of Breitbart News, the far-right media organ. You now are allowed to bet the farm that Bannon is going to use his new/old job to undermine McMaster some more, only from outside the White House grounds. Bannon said in an interview after his departure that the presidency for which he fought is now “over,” meaning that in Bannon’s view the president has pivoted toward the “globalist” wing within his inner circle.

Bannon is having none of it, vowing to “fight for” Donald Trump, suggesting he’s going to use Breitbart to push an agenda at odds with the likes of Gens. Kelly and McMaster as well as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis.

I believe the president needs to keep cleaning house. He needs to show other alt-right devotees — such as speechwriter Stephen Miller and supposed “terrorism expert” Sebastian Gorka — the way out the door.

As for Bannon, suffice to say this guy looks ready to exact some revenge against those who got him tossed.

Do you think this means the end of chaos in the White House? Umm, I’m thinking we’ve got a lot more of it in store.

A glimmer of good news from Trump tirade?

If there was the slightest glimmer of good news from Donald J. Trump’s astonishing rant this afternoon, it involves the possible fate of the president’s senior political strategist.

The president fielded a question at Trump Tower about Stephen K. Bannon and whether he was going to be pushed out of his job. Trump responded that Bannon is a good guy, a “friend of mine.” He said Bannon “is not a racist.”

Then the president said he was uncertain about whether Bannon would stay on.  “We’ll see what happens,” Trump said.

Wait a second! He’s the president of the United States. Of course he knows whether he’s going to keep Bannon. Should he retain this guy? Hell … no!

Bannon is the former Breitbart News honcho who ran an organization with deep sympathies to the “alt-right” movement often associated with white supremacists and assorted other haters.

He now has a seat at the White House policy-setting table. He also is reportedly feuding with chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

I want Bannon out of there. Maybe the president will do the right thing — at least on that score. Then again, we still will have Donald Trump as president of the United States.

White House faces another moment of truth

As if the White House doesn’t have enough centers of conflict within its walls, now we hear about yet another feud erupting between two of the president’s closest advisers.

In one corner is Stephen Bannon, the uber nationalist and former head of Breitbart News and a guy known for his rather harsh views about “globalism.” In the other corner is Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the brilliant military strategist who now serves as Donald John Trump Sr.’s national security adviser.

The White House is getting caught up in a growing potential crisis in North Korea. The president needs close aides nearby to give him sound advice on how to handle this matter.

McMaster made the rounds today on news talk shows to talk about the Korea issue — and about his relationship with Bannon. McMaster declined to say he could work with Bannon. He soft-shoed his way all around the questions.

Indeed, this is another test for the White House, which now is being run day-to-day by another general-grade officer, former Marine Gen. John Kelly, the president’s newly named chief of staff. It now falls on Kelly to ensure that the White House functions like a “fine-tuned machine,” which is now Trump once described his dysfunctional administration.

My sincere hope is that McMaster emerges as the man who’s standing if he, indeed, is engaged in a battle with Bannon.

I don’t trust Bannon as far as I can throw my big home office desk. He lacks the background to serve as a “senior policy adviser” to the president of the United States. He is a far-right provocateur and a damn scary dude, to boot!

McMaster is a grownup with tremendous combat experience. He has emerged as a brilliant strategist and he is the kind of serious-minded adviser who — if he’s given the chance — can serve the president and the nation with distinction.

All of this, of course, relies on the president’s judgment.

Will he heed the voice in his head that tells him to trust the national security pro or does he rely instead on the right-wing flamethrower?

As hopeful as I want to be on how this turns out, I am not willing to bet the mortgage the president will do what is right for the nation.

Trump seeks to plug leaks … how?

Someone might have to explain this to me.

Donald John Trump reportedly is mad as hell. The White House leaks like a sieve. Someone or some people inside the place might be blabbing to the media about the inner workings of the Trump administration.

So what might the president do to curb the leaks? Why, shoot, he might just fire the press secretary, the White House chief of staff, the president’s legal counsel and his chief political strategist.

That’s the report being discussed by the chattering class in Washington, D.C. Press flack Sean Spicer, chief of staff Reince Priebus, legal eagle Don McGahn and strategist Stephen Bannon could be out.

What, then, might happen to the leak issue? It could turn into a deluge if the president decides to cut these four guys loose. They would be untethered from the White House and could tattle to their hearts’ content about all they know, what they have seen and heard and who has done what to whom inside the Trump White House.

Look, we’re only 100-and-some days into an administration that hopes to last another three-plus years. The president already is talking about running for re-election and, in fact, has released what looks and sounds like a 2020 campaign commercial.

Each day brings new surprises. Each dawn produces news of a not-so-flattering kind. The president cannot contain his Twitter fetish.

He’s worried about leaks. So his remedy might be to unleash four of his top guns into the public to, um, possibly spill their guts?

This is not how you govern, Mr. President. Really and truly.