By Jackson Richman
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump excoriated his former campaign chairman and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon for his service to him and leaking information to the media.
“Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look,” Trump said in a statement. “Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself.”
For example, last April, when asked by the New York Post if he has confidence in his then-chief strategist, Trump gave a lukewarm response. “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late,” he said. “I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.”
As of last October, despite being shown the door last August, the president still communicates with Bannon. Which is odd, considering Trump’s noncommittal description of how he values his former campaign mastermind.
Another example of why the press and the American public should not forecast conclusively in light of condemnatory remarks from the White House is that Gary Cohn is still the National Economic Council chairman, despite blasting the president last August for his moral equivalence regarding violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK,” Cohn told the Financial Times. “As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post as director of the National Economic Council because I feel a duty to fulfil my commitment to work on behalf of the American people. But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks.”
“As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job,” he added. “I feel deep empathy for all who have been targeted by these hate groups. We must all unite together against them.”
Although he was passed over to be the next Federal Reserve chairman, Cohn is still at the Trump White House.
Also, look at Trump’s tumultuous relationship with Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Although the Vietnam War veteran claimed last October that his relationship with the president is nonexistent, it has consisted of bright spots. Last July, as the senator underwent brain cancer treatment, Trump lauded McCain as an “American hero,” despite saying the opposite on the campaign trail.
Finally, we must see who the president endorses on the midterm campaign trail. Will Trump formally support Bannon-backed candidates like Kelli Ward, who is running for Arizona senator Jeff Flake’s seat? Last August, Trump tweeted encouragement for Ward. If Trump backpedals his support for Ward and endorses Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who is expected to run against Ward in the GOP primary, then it is plausible to conclude that Trump has separated himself from the Bannon sphere.
Thus far, it would be premature to conclude from Trump lambasting Bannon that the unpredictable president’s relationship with the now-Chairman of Breitbart, which is Trump’s propaganda machine, is over.