Steve Bannon tells Jonathan Swan that January will define Donald Trump’s presidency — “and is his last, best chance to make good on his most controversial campaign promises.”
Callum Borchers: “The race to succeed Hatch in Utah could represent an irresistible challenge for Bannon, especially if Mitt Romney runs. As I have noted before, Romney and Breitbart News were very friendly in 2012, when the former Massachusetts governor was the GOP presidential nominee. But since Romney lost to Barack Obama — an event that roughly coincided with Bannon assuming control of Breitbart — Romney has become a symbol of the political establishment Breitbart reviles.”
Axios: Romney changes Twitter location to Utah.
“Steve Bannon has cut ties with Paul Nehlen, the far-right activist who is challenging Paul Ryan for his congressional seat and who has received extremely favorable coverage from Breitbart in the past,” CNN reports.
Said one Bannon adviser: “Nehlen is dead to us.”
“Nehlen, who became a lightning rod for his anti-immigrant views, has escalated his rhetoric in recent days with a number of incendiary tweets.”
Karl Rove told Fox News that Steve Bannon showed up in Alabama looking like “a scruffy out-of-work homeless guy” while “ranting and raving about the so-called establishment in Washington.”
Said Rove: “Not a winning message.”
“He looks like some disheveled drunk who wandered on to the political stage. He does not represent anything that I stand for.”
— Rep. Peter King (R-NY), quoted by the Washington Examiner, on former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon.
“Steve Bannon bashed Mitt Romney for, as he put it, hiding behind his religion to avoid getting drafted into the Vietnam War,” CNN reports.
Said Bannon: “Mitt, here’s how it is, brother: The college deferments, we can debate that — but you hid behind your religion. You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies in Vietnam.”
First Read: “After Bannon’s vicious attack on Romney and his sons, how does Romney – who’s a competitive guy – respond? Does he think about potentially challenging Trump in 2020? Does he consider running for the Senate, even with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) looking like he’s gearing up for another term? Or does Romney back down?”
“Remember, Romney and Trump are pretty much the polar opposites of the Republican Party. And if 2020 started tomorrow, Trump would probably get a primary challenge from someone like a Romney or a Flake or a John Kasich.”
Stephen Bannon “returned to the Sirius XM radio show he had hosted before joining Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, an outlet that reaches 32 million people,” the New York Times reports.
“The daily program provides an additional venue for the leader of the website Breitbart to toss political grenades at people like Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, as the 2018 midterm election cycle begins.”
Associated Press: “Bannon hasn’t yanked his support for Moore, but if he’s standing by him — it’s at a distance. Associates say he has no plans to campaign in the state before the Dec. 12 election. Meanwhile, his public statements have gone from glowing endorsements of Moore to broadsides against Democratic contender Doug Jones.”
“The shift reflects the high stakes for Bannon in the race. By backing the renegade Moore, Bannon transformed the sleepy special election into the first battle in what he calls his war on the establishment. But the accusations against Moore have turned what should have been an easy win for Republicans into a nail-biter, and raise the possibility that Bannon will emerge from his first effort bruised and blamed.”
“Steve Bannon has vowed to lead a ‘season of war’ on Washington’s Republican establishment. But donors most likely to fund a disruptive campaign may be hard to win over,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Bannon is planning to support primary challengers to GOP senators with a goal of toppling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell… Turning that into reality likely would require tens of millions of dollars to rally voters and build the name recognition of various candidates facing well-financed, sitting senators. Indeed, outside groups spent nearly $3 million in 2012 helping Richard Mourdock defeat Republican Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana. Mr. Mourdock went on to lose the general election.”
“In recent weeks, however, two of the biggest GOP donors who have funded disruptive campaigns in the past have distanced themselves from Mr. Bannon. And the turbulent Senate race in Alabama, where Mr. Bannon backs Republican candidate Roy Moore, who is facing sexual assault allegations, has energized Mr. McConnell’s defenders.”
Mark Cuban has discussed the possibility of running for president in 2020 with Steve Bannon over the past few months, the Daily Beast reports.
Axios: “Bannon wants to break down the entrenched political system, so he might view Cuban — with his mix of social liberalism and Ayn Rand devotion — as someone he could work with on the left. And while it might seem odd that Bannon would seemingly work against Trump, don’t forget that he told Vanity Fair last month that he only gives his boss a 30% chance of lasting a full term.”
Matt Lewis: “The moral of the story for Republicans is that Trumpism is toxic in diverse areas full of educated suburbanites. As these regions continue to grow (and as the areas where Trump performs well continue to shrink), Republicans will face the demographic crisis we’ve been warning about for years.”
“This was always going to be a challenge for Republicans, but Trump and Bannon have exacerbated the problem. Roy Moore can win in deep-red Alabama; he can’t win in purple Virginia.”
“Ousted White House chief strategist Steve Bannon won’t stop discussing the possibility that his former boss could be impeached. And now, he’s using it as a scare tactic for Republican voters and candidates,” Newsweek reports.
“Top House GOP campaign strategists met with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Friday morning — an indication party leaders are attempting to avert the divisive primaries that Bannon is organizing against Senate Republicans,” Politico reports.
Just published: Bannon: Always the Rebel by Keith Koffler.
“Allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared open warfare on Wednesday against Stephen Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and leader of an insurrection aimed at defeating mainstream GOP candidates in next year’s midterm elections,” the Washington Post reports.
“More than a year ahead of the 2018 congressional contests, a super PAC aligned with McConnell (R-KY) revealed plans to attack Bannon personally as it works to protect incumbents facing uphill primary fights. The effort reflects the growing concern of Republican lawmakers over the rise of anti-establishment forces and comes amid escalating frustration over President Trump’s conduct, which has prompted a handful of lawmakers to publicly criticize the president.”
“Until the last year or so, I never heard of the man. Now I’ve heard of him.”
— Former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), quoted by Politico, on former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon.
Stephen Bannon said there “has not been a more destructive presidency than George Bush’s,” while arguing that Bush “embarrassed himself” with a “high falutin” speech which criticized President Trump, CNN reports.
He added that Bush “has no earthly idea of whether he’s coming or going… just like it was when he was president.”