Three years ago, very few people knew who Steve Bannon was. Two years ago, he was the svengali of the Trump campaign, the puppetmaster of Trump himself, making the cover of Time almost as much as Trump. And as the Trump presidency started one year ago, Bannon, as Trump’s chief strategist and main adviser, seemed to have the power to influence the world and bring his nationalism to the country.
As of yesterday, he was homeless (politically speaking).
When Trump’s campaign appeared to be on the brink, he and Bannon made the relationship official. Trump named Bannon the campaign’s “chief executive” in August 2016. After that, Bannon was regularly on the campaign plane with the candidate.
Bannon urged Trump to stick to his anti-establishment, nationalist guns, and was one of the few Trump allies who stood by Trump in the hours and immediate days after a video emerged showing Trump brag about sexual assault. Bannon never let other Republicans forget they had abandoned Trump en masse. “The Billy Bush Saturday to me is a litmus test,” he told 60 Minutes. “When you side with a man you side with him, okay?”
After Trump pulled off his surprise victory, he rewarded Bannon by naming him chief strategist for the incoming administration — a position on equal footing with White House chief of staff.
An overarching goal of the Trump administration, Bannon said a month into the new administration, would be “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”
But, instead, it was the first wave of core Trump advisers who were slowly deconstructed. Bannon outlasted national security adviser Michael Flynn, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and press secretary Sean Spicer, among others. But by late August, a year after he first took over the Trump campaign, he was gone.
When Steve Bannon left the White House in August 2017, he framed his exile from the West Wing as a promotion, not a demotion.
“I feel jacked up,” he told the Weekly Standard. “Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons.” Bannon spoke about using his perch at Breitbart News and as an independent political operator to wage war on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other establishment Republicans, by recruiting and promoting a slate of insurgent primary challengers.
But with the publication of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, containing many not-so-flattering quotes from Bannon, followed by Bannon’s lame statement of “regret”, he found himself cut off from his two biggest patrons: President Donald Trump and conservative activist and donor Rebekah Mercer, the head of the Mercer Family Foundation and the daughter of billionaire investor Robert Mercer.
And yesterday, he was pushed off his perch as editor of Breitbart News. He hit the ground hard – “stunned and shellshocked” insiders say.
As if to underscore that absence of Bannonism, Trump held a televised strategy session with top Democrats and Republicans on the topic of immigration, and talked about crafting comprehensive reform built on “love” (Trump’s word).
Then the White House announced that Trump would attend the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, in the coming weeks. Nowhere is there a more globalist event than that. Somewhere, the heads of Bannon and Coulter exploded.
Who knows what comes next? Maybe Bannon works his way back into Trump’s graces. Maybe he finds generous backers. Time will tell.