President Trump’s launching of airstrikes on Syria in response to the chemical attack allegedly carried out by its government is already drenched in conspiracy theories. But according to inside sources speaking to various outlets, Trump’s seemingly hair-trigger decision is a symptom of a power struggle within the White House.
Writing for New York Magazine, Gabriel Sherman cites two sources within the White House who said that Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon argued against the strikes, “not because of its questionable constitutionality, but on the grounds that it doesn’t advance Trump’s America First doctrine.”
“Steve doesn’t think we belong there,” a source close to Bannon told Sherman. Another source said that the strikes reflect Trump going with Jared Kushner’s counsel over Bannon’s.
as a nazi, Steve Bannon must be so humiliated to know he just got outmaneuvered by Jared Kushner, one of the most untalented jews in america
— joe mande ❤️ China (@JoeMande) April 6, 2017
The debate over Syria is the latest fault line that has opened up in the once close Bannon-Kushner relationship. “During the campaign and transition, they had an almost uncle-nephew thing going,” one Bannon associate said. But in recent weeks, Kushner and Bannon have clashed over the direction of Trump’s agenda.
“The press is calling it fighting, we call it debating,” Bannon told an associate, according to a source. On a board in his West Wing office, Bannon keeps a list of promises Trump made to populist voters. Kushner, whose portfolio has ballooned in recent weeks, seems much less interested in keeping those promises.
According to Sherman’s sources, the White House is divided into two “clearly defined camps.” Those camps include “the nationalists” (Bannon, Stephen Miller) and “the Democrats” (Kushner, Ivanka Trump).
“Despite his waning influence, Bannon recently told an ally that he won’t quit,” Sherman writes. “If Trump wants him out, he’ll have to fire him.”