Steve Bannon’s Allies Start to Abandon Him

The Washington Post reports

Former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon’s hopes of leading a revolt in the Republican Party this year suffered a severe blow Thursday as his allies rebuked and abandoned him following a nasty public break with President Trump.

Candidates who once embraced Bannon distanced themselves from his efforts, groups aligned with his views sought separation, and his most important financial backer, the billionaire Mercer family, which has championed him for years, announced that it was severing ties.

Even his position as chairman of Breitbart News, a website he has referred to as one of his most effective “weapons,” was being reviewed by the company’s leadership, according to people familiar with the talks — a move that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders publicly encouraged at Thursday’s White House news briefing.

But it was the rare statement from Rebekah Mercer, daughter of investor Robert Mercer, that hit hardest and, combined with Trump’s fury, has left Bannon isolated from the two power centers that elevated him from a fringe commentator to an office in the White House.

“My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements,” Rebekah Mercer said in a statement to The Washington Post.

Breitbart executives, along with Mercer, who holds a minority stake, discussed pushing Bannon out of the company he helped make famous, according to four people familiar with the discussions. Among their concerns in doing so is the reaction of hard-line conservatives, who make up much of the site’s readership, and also of Bannon, who would be unlikely to leave quietly, the sources said.

Friends of the Mercers working at the White House privately shared their view that Bannon’s ouster from Breitbart would be well-received by the president, who has been irritated for months with Bannon’s rising profile even as the two continued to talk by phone. A Bannon representative declined to comment.

“I certainly think that it’s something they should look at and consider,” Sanders told reporters Thursday.

One person close to Trump said, “The president’s take is that everyone has to now make a choice: ‘It’s me or it’s Steve.’ ”

Lawyers for Trump have accused Bannon of breaking a confidentiality agreement by making critical comments about Trump and his family in a forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by Michael Wolff. The president said in a statement Wednesday that Bannon has “lost his mind” since leaving his perch at the White House in August.

Those remarks have effectively undermined Bannon’s standing as leader in the motley movement that swept Trump into office, while giving ammunition to his foes in the Republican Party who have long warned that he will be an electoral liability.

“The base is owned and operated by Donald Trump,” said Christopher Ruddy, a friend of Trump’s who is chief executive of Newsmax Media. “Bannon was an interloper who didn’t have as much control as people say he did and whose image was inflated by the media. His power came from riding the coattails of Trump, and the base will side with the president.”

After leaving the West Wing, Bannon has tried to straddle a fine line as a hard-charging Trump advocate while cultivating his national stature as the master of his own political operation with distinct personal and ideological goals. People who work with Bannon acknowledged that it will be difficult for him to keep rallying the president’s base in the current environment.

Bannon’s foes were more blunt. “His only hook to Republican Party politics was his relationship with the president,” said Josh Holmes, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “You saw how quickly everything dissolved after the president’s statement.”

One thought on “Steve Bannon’s Allies Start to Abandon Him

  • January 6, 2018 at 5:58 am
    Permalink

    Bannon should see if he can get hooked up with crooked Hillary she might give him a job a part time dish washer at one of her lavish homes. He always looked to me like somebody that was rescued from a homeless shelter he also looks like a drunk that the cops picked up.

    Reply

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