Donald Trump did a lot during 2017, but most people don’t know that, because most of the news was about the White House soap opera—who said what to whom, and who was called an idiot, or in one case, a “f’ing moron.” Some say this is all by plan, and that populists won’t notice they’re being left behind, because of all the confusion.
The latest chapter of the “Apprentice President” melodrama surrounds the book, Fire and Fury, whose author, Michael Wolff, spent hundreds of hours inside the White House, wandering around, talking to people, or simply sitting on a couch, hearing things. It seems odd, but in the movie, The Paper, Michael Keaton tells Randy Quaid, “A clipboard and a confident wave will get you into any building in the world.” And that’s probably the answer. He was confident. He seemed to know what he was doing. He seemed to belong. And the more they saw him, the less they would question his being there.
So let’s do what Keaton called, in the same move, a “tick-tock,” that is, a chronological telling of the story. Wolff’s interviews were months ago. This is NOT a sudden change of heart by Steve Bannon, whose quotes are causing the uproar. When excerpts from the book first hit the papers, Bannon realized all those things he said might come out, even though he probably thought they were “off the record,” and maybe even facetious.
Bannon immediately set to writing a well-considered response, and was going over it with his assistant. But Trump doesn’t well-consider anything. He shoots from the hip, so Trump’s attack on Bannon came before Bannon could undermine Wolff.
Steve Bannon was only minutes away from attacking “Fire and Fury” author Michael Wolff over quotes attributed to the former White House chief strategist, but he decided not to do so after President Donald Trump attacked him after the release of excerpts from the book, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Bannon and his allies drafted a statement Wednesday praising Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., after excerpts of Wolff’s explosive exposé quoted Bannon calling Trump’s eldest son “treasonous” and “unpatriotic,” a Bannon ally told CNN. . .
Bannon’s statement was going to say, according to the source familiar with the situation. “Don Jr., like his father, is a great American and a patriot. And we all know Don Jr. did not knowingly meet with Russian agents. . . Sadly, this is yet another lefty hatchet job intended to disrespect our President and his supporters.”
But instead of blaming “the liberal press,” Trump turned it into an internecine bloodbath, calling Bannon “Sloppy Steve,” saying Bannon “lost his mind,” and that he cried like a baby when he was fired. The battle could have solidified the right against the media. Instead, Trump gave the story credibility, by attacking Bannon. Because of the intensity of Trump’s attacks, the inference is that “secrets were revealed,” not simply that “lies were told,” about him.
It’s an example of Trump’s urge to attack everyone, friend or foe, such as his attacks on his own staff, most notably, Reince Priebus, Jeff Sessions, even Rex Tillerson, and others, according to the National Review. This method worked when he was an independent speculator, since there was always some new individual partner out there. But in Washington, people have their own power, and much of that power comes from collaboration and synergy—not by burning bridges.
Some say the bad blood between Trump and Bannon is all from the loss of Jeff Sessions’ senate seat in ultra-red Alabama. Trump blames Bannon, but Bannon was consistent in his support of Roy Moore, while, as we have reported elsewhere, Trump flip-flopped several times, backing McConnell pal, Luther Strange, over Tea Party favorite, Mo Brooks. Then, even before the primary, Trump saying he made a mistake to back Strange. Then, in the runoff, Trump backed Moore, only to violently attack him as soon as the votes were counted.
Bannon has firm beliefs and ideals. Trump does not. Trump is now saying that 2018 will be a year of cooperation. It would be perfectly in-character for Trump to work with “Chuck and Nancy” (Schumer and Pelosi), if he thought it would make him popular, quickly throwing “Mitch and Paul” (McConnell and Rynn) under the crowded GOP bus path.
Trump’s on-again, off-again courting of Democrats continued Friday morning. He often slams the opposition party for several days or weeks and then predicts he soon will start working with them.
And now that Bannon is out at Breitbart, his populism will probably leave with him, further allowing the publication to support Trump’s move toward the GOP establishment—or move toward Democrats.
Another sign of Bannon’s maturity is that he allowed his own publication, Breitbart, to report on him. Despite the strong attacks on him, Bannon remained silent. His opportunity to get out in front of the problem had been lost, so he didn’t say anything—until this past week.
Bannon tried to redirect and redefine the crisis.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reacted Wednesday and Thursday to President Donald Trump’s fiery rebuke to him, saying he supports Trump “day in and day out” and that “nothing will ever come between us and President Trump and his agenda.”. . .
On Wednesday night, Bannon said on “Breitbart News Tonight” on SiriusXM radio, “The president of the United States is a great man. You know I support him day in and day out.”
Bannon’s proclamation of loyalty was not accepted. The White House attack seems to be getting more serious. Former associate in the White House, Stephen Miller, attacked Bannon on CNN with such rabid hostility that he had to be ushered out of the building, according to Business Insider.
What might have been laughed off as liberal fantasy was given credibility, when Trump attacked Bannon viciously. Bannon tried to squelch the crisis, but was beat to the media by Trump. And then, when Bannon has tried to refocus the story to the author, and the media who are reporting on it, Trump is continuing his personal attacks on Bannon.
And it has led to having Trump protest that he’s “like, real smart,” and that he is “a very stable genius.” No genius is stupid enough to claim the title of “genius.” And even Trump’s base says that Trump’s refusal to be predictable is the thing they most admired. Someone should inform Trump that there really are times when “no comment” is the best response.