Steve Bannon, aka Fat Russell Crowe Face, aka the Notorious S.T.E.V.E, aka Papa Bannon, has gone rogue. With rumors swirling that the White House chief strategist might not survive the week, Bannon pulled an Anthony Scaramucci Mane and called a reporter to dump all the Lipton.
In an interview with progressive publication American Prospect, Bannon boasted that his opponents inside the departments of Defense, State and Treasury are “wetting themselves,” even adding how he plans to get rid of those who oppose his plans; he also contradicted Trump’s play on war with North Korea and called white nationalists “a collection of clowns,” something that his boss had been unable to do since the terrorist attacks in Charlottesville, Va.
“Ethno-nationalism—it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more,” Bannon told the Prospect.
He added that he wants Democrats to focus on racism, saying, “If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
A source close to Bannon told CNN that this was not an interview and basically tried to describe Bannon’s conversation with a reporter as akin to what happened with Scaramucci Mane, who, you may remember, called a New Yorker reporter and poured his heart out while reportedly not realizing that he was on the record.
Here’s why none of this is making sense to me.
First, Bannon has been notoriously absent from the media since joining Trump’s team. He hasn’t done many, if any, interviews since becoming Trump’s chief strategist.
Second, if anyone understands how the media operates, it’s Bannon. Before taking his post as puppet master of Trump’s administration, Bannon was the founding member of Breitbart News, an “alt-right” rag. While they consider themselves a far-right news, opinion and commentary website that just so happens to push some of the most xenophobic, racist dribble this world has ever known, they are still a publication that, for the most part, skates on the fringe of journalistic ethics, and as such, Bannon knew what the fuck he was doing. Even if he didn’t know, he knew.
As my grandmother used to tell me all the time when I got caught doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, “You are too smart to play dumb now.” I don’t believe for a second that a man who worked for a publication prior to joining the White House and managed to stay out of the media just randomly called a reporter to have a conversation without realizing that said conversation would be on the record. I call bullshit.
And last, this seems contrived. The scuttlebutt around Washington is that Bannon is on his way out, and not just out as in someday—out as in, he won’t survive the weekend. So Bannon just so happens to make a call to a reporter the same week that he’s reportedly fallen out of the graces of his son, the emperor, and spills all the tea?
Here’s my thinking: Bannon knows that he’s leaving and wanted to go on record with his true feelings on this administration so that he can stop being the scapegoat for Trump’s white nationalist affections. Or Bannon and Trump are in on this. The whole lot of it. The call is to separate Bannon and Trump’s ideological brain so that the president can look sympathetic to those against white nationalism by keeping Bannon. I know—it’s a long shot, making Bannon the sympathetic one here, but Bannon made it a point to denounce white nationalism during the call, and I don’t think that is accidental.
Either way, Bannon has pushed the president’s hand, and I like the play, if for nothing else than that I’m all for this Lannister-ass administration’s demise, and the more drama the better. Something is rotten in the state of TrumPutin, and I hope that this is only the beginning.
Read more at the American Prospect and CNN.