In the wake of his ouster as White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon sat down for an interview with The Weekly Standard and immediately took on his new adversarial role as many in the media predicted. According to the conservative publication’s introduction to the piece, Bannon’s removal may signal a White House that is “less willfully disruptive — which to Bannon, had been the point of winning” in the first place.
“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon told The Weekly Standard on Friday just after his departure.”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 plans to return to his former role at the right-wing publication Breitbart and reportedly held a meeting with staffers today, and headlines attacking Trump administration members such as national security adviser H.R. McMaster and senior aide Jared Kushner are already being prepared.
While initial reports of his removal suggested he was forced out, Bannon claims he resigned voluntarily according to a timeline he had preplanned.
“On August 7th , I talked to [Chief of Staff John] Kelly and to the President, and I told them that my resignation would be effective the following Monday, on the 14th,” he said. “I’d always planned on spending one year. General Kelly has brought in a great new system, but I said it would be best. I want to get back to Breitbart.”
But as The Weekly Standard pointed out, Bannon’s days were numbered nevertheless.
Bannon may have resigned, but it was clear from the time that Kelly became chief of staff that Bannon’s remaining time in the West Wing was going to be short. Kelly undertook a study of the West Wing’s operating system, and let it be known that he kept hearing about Bannon as a disruptive force and a source of leaks aimed at undermining his rivals.
Bannon apparently doesn’t see his removal as a defeat, but an opportunity to further his vision for the White House, which he says will now be much harder for Trump to enact.
“The path forward on things like economic nationalism and immigration, and [Trump’s] ability to kind of move freely . . . I just think his ability to get anything done—particularly the bigger things, like the wall, the bigger, broader things that we fought for, it’s just gonna be that much harder.”
“There’s about to be a jailbreak of these [moderate Republicans] on the Hill,” he added.
“It’s the Republican establishment,” Bannon continued, blaming them for the destruction of his dream. “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.”
“Now I’m free,” he declared. “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.”
Read The Weekly Standard’s full piece here.
Featured image via MSNBC screen grab