“Steve Bannon flew to Beijing last week for a secret meeting with the second most powerful Chinese Communist party official, less than a month after the former chief White House strategist declared that America was at ‘economic war with China,'” the Financial Times reports.
Rick Klein: “Is the party of Donald Trump morphing into the party of Steve Bannon and Kid Rock? President Trump is now seeking a bipartisan path toward tax reform, and is also meeting today with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., in an attempt to heal some Charlottesville damage. But Trumpian forces are massing in unexpected ways.”
“Bannon’s vow to seek out primary challengers against Republican lawmakers, along with his critique of Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, has roiled congressional races during recruitment and retirement season. Kid Rock is drawing protests at his concerts, including a hyped appearance in Detroit last night where he was introduced as the next senator from Michigan and where he declared, ‘Whatever you have between your legs should determine the bathroom that you use.’ And in Alabama, the final two weeks in the Senate GOP primary could see Trump staying out, so as not to get embarrassed in seeing Roy Moore defeat Sen. Luther Strange. Trump has struggled to show he can control himself in office. Controlling Trumpism may be an even more impossible task.”
Stephen Bannon believes the firing of FBI director James Comey by President Trump was the biggest mistake “maybe in modern political history,” the Washington Post reports.
Said Bannon: “I don’t think there’s any doubt that if James Comey had not been fired we would not have a special counsel.”
“Stephen Bannon — President Trump’s former chief strategist who left the White House in August — declared war Sunday against the Republican congressional leadership, called on Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, to resign, and outlined his views on issues ranging from immigration to trade,” the Washington Post reports.
“Bannon, in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes, accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) of ‘trying to nullify the 2016 election.’ … He blamed them for failing to repeal and replace former president Barack Obama’s signature health-care law and made clear that he would use his Breitbart perch to hold Republicans accountable for not helping Trump push through his agenda.””
“I’m talking – obviously, about Gary Cohn and some other people. That if you don’t like what he’s doing and you don’t agree with it, you have an obligation to resign.”
— Stephen Bannon, in an interview with CBS News.
Steve Bannon, the ousted White House strategist, sat for an interview with Charlie Rose this afternoon in New York, sources tell the Hollywood Reporter.
The full interview will air Sunday on 60 Minutes with portions of it set to run Thursday on CBS This Morning.
Stephen Bannon and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, “plotted for nearly two hours on the agenda for the month ahead, with an emphasis on the Breitbart-Freedom Caucus war against Republican leadership on multiple fronts,” according to Jonathan Swan.
Said a source: “The topics discussed included conservative alternatives to everything the anti-Trump Republican leadership has planned on every major policy matter facing the United States of America in September. Including, Paul Ryan’s and Mitch McConnell’s demonstrated failure to govern, and how to effectively implement the Trump agenda moving forward.”
“Republican leadership already has a brutal month ahead, but the House Freedom Caucus — a collection of around 40 ultra conservative members — is going to fight them every step of the way.”
Steve Bannon is breaking from President Trump in the closely-watched Alabama Senate special election, Politico reports.
“During a closed-door meeting with powerful conservatives in Washington last week, Bannon declared that he’s supporting former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore over Trump-endorsed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, according to two people who were present. Bannon, who just over a week ago left the White House to rejoin the conservative website Breitbart News, said that he is looking to activate the conservative base to Moore’s cause.”
Stephen Bannon spoke to The Economist about his post-White House agenda: “In the White House I had influence. At Breitbart, I had power.”
Among the particular opponents he has in his sights are congressional Republicans — “Mitch McConnell, I’m going to light him up” — and “the elites in Silicon Valley and Wall Street—they’re a bunch of globalists who have forgotten their fellow Americans.”
Yet Bannon insists he will never attack his former boss, President Trump: “We will never turn on him. But we are never going to let him take a decision that hurts him.”
Politico: “The departures from Trump’s White House have come at a dizzying pace in recent weeks: multiple communications directors, the chief of staff and the press secretary have all left, along with top aides on the national security council and a number of CEOs from influential business councils. But none of the departures are likely to change the dynamics as much as that of the polarizing Bannon, whose ouster on Friday could alienate conservatives, hearten some who feared his brand of populism-nationalism, and dial down the fights inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.”
Said GOP operative Mark Corallo: “Bannon is the intellectual heart and soul of the Trump movement. He was the think tank. He’s the idea generator… He was the guy who was the most thoughtful about how to enact the agenda, how to build a coalition.”
New York Times: “Some of Mr. Bannon’s protégés have already been sidelined while others may depart soon, people in the White House said. He will no longer have access to briefing papers or sit in meetings… Still, there are reasons to believe Mr. Bannon’s core worldview will outlast him.”
Dylan Byers: “I think the only question you have to ask is: What platform is more powerful for you than being in the White House, than having the ear of the president of the United States? If you don’t have that, how powerful can you really be? That’s really what we are going to see in terms of where Bannon goes.”
“I feel jacked up. 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 fucking 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.”
— Stephen Bannon, quoted by the Weekly Standard.
Ousted White House strategist Stephen Bannon said a new phase of the Trump presidency will now begin and it will likely be “less willfully disruptive,” the Weekly Standard reports.
Said Bannon: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. 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 also confirmed that he will return to the helm of Breitbart, “the rambunctious right-wing media enterprise he ran until joining the Trump campaign as chief executive last August.”
Jonathan Swan: “Steve Bannon’s next moves will be all about the billionaire Mercer family. I’m told Bannon, who visited New York this week, met with Bob Mercer and together they will be a well-funded force on the outside.”
“Bannon has felt liberated since it became clear he was being pushed out, according to friends. He’s told associates he has a ‘killing machine’ in Breitbart News, and it’s possible he returns to lead their editorial operation.”
“A source familiar with Breitbart’s operations told me they would go ‘thermonuclear’ against ‘globalists’ that Bannon and his friends believe are ruining the Trump administration, and by extension, America.”
Washington Post: “The potential for Bannon to wreak havoc and mischief on the White House from the outside is among the reasons Trump had been skittish about firing his chief strategist. And Bannon himself had used wartime metaphors to signal to friends and confidants that he would continue to pursue his nationalist, populist agenda if he leaves his government perch.”
James Hohmann: “Reports of Stephen Bannon’s death might be greatly exaggerated. President Trump’s wholehearted embrace of Confederate monuments as a new wedge issue underscores how much juice the White House’s chief strategist still has. Bannon has been in the doghouse, and Trump resents how much credit he’s gotten for his victory last November. But even if he loses his government job, which is still a possibility, the former chairman of Breitbart News’s brand of populism and scorched-earth tactics will continue to heavily influence Trump’s approach to governing.”
“Trump’s sudden decision to become the leading cheerleader for preserving Confederate memorials is a strategic political maneuver designed to change the terms of the post-Charlottesville conversation. There’s vastly more public support, especially among Republicans, for preserving monuments than for the false moral equivalencies Trump espoused earlier in the week. It’s also a distraction from the failure to follow through on his biggest promises and the mounting Russia investigations.”