Chaos again descended upon the White House when Steve Bannon, who had just been forced out as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist at noon Friday, gave a shocking interview to The Weekly Standard.
“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” said Bannon after leaving his White House role. “We still have a huge movement, and we 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.”
Bannon’s shocking candor may not have been intended to be a swipe at Trump, but many took it that way.
And the venue Bannon chose appeared particularly designed to rile Trump. The Weekly Standard had been edited by Bill Kristol, one of the first and most determined “Never-Trump” Republicans. Kristol had even mocked Bannon earlier Friday by tweeting that America was great again — because Bannon had been forced out.
Bannon said he is now pessimistic about a successful Trump presidency, but not because of Trump himself.
“It’s the Republican Establishment,” Bannon told The Standard. “The Republican Establishment has no interest in Trump’s success on this. They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his program. Zero. It was a half-hearted attempt at Obamacare reform, it was no interest really on the infrastructure, they’ll do a very standard Republican version of taxes.”
Bannon said even the border wall is in jeopardy.
“What Trump ran on — border wall, where is the funding for the border wall, one of his central tenets, where have they been?” Bannon said. “Have they rallied around the Perdue-Cotton immigration bill? 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.”
Bannon made clear Breitbart will soon get back to its intense scrutiny of the Republican Establishment, which it rocked in the 2016 elections. Bannon said he will relish the fight. He made clear he is now an outside operative, and he will aim his machine at the GOP Establishment, which he claims is impotent.
“I feel jacked up,” said Bannon. “Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, ‘It’s Bannon the Barbarian.’ I am definitely going to crush the opposition. There’s no doubt. I built a f***ing machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.”
Bannon, in fact, wasted no time. He chaired the evening editorial meeting on Friday at Breitbart.
Bannon did not respond immediately to messages from LifeZette.
The White House was surprisingly mum all day. Unlike actions following other major departures from within the White House, the press office did not issue any kind of statement to the wider media about Bannon’s exit.
But Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, seemed to blast Bannon for his remarks about Trump’s presidency being “over.”
“The most interesting measure of a friend is the difference between their personal texts to you and their Facebook posts,” tweeted Trump Jr.
Roger Stone, a longtime Trump friend and informal adviser, said Bannon did not hire enough Trump loyalists. After Bannon’s remarks, he texted LifeZette.
“If the Democrats focus on race, and the president focuses on economic prosperity, the administration’s greatest days lie ahead,” he said.
Stone also mocked Bannon for media coverage claiming Bannon was the “real” president.
“The Bannon presidency may be over but the Trump presidency … still has great promise,” he said.
A Bannon ally said Trump will not have to worry if he sticks to his promises.
“President Trump will be treated well when he is right and accordingly when wrong,” said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump attorney, in a text to LifeZette.