Published: Fri, April 14, 2017
USA | By Angel Wallace

Is Bannon in peril? Trump comments worry his populist base

Is Bannon in peril? Trump comments worry his populist base

"I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn't know Steve". Amid infighting in the administration, Trump reportedly had to sit Bannon down with Jared Kushner and other White House aides and tell them to work it out.

"I'm my own strategist", Trump said. "It's important to recognize the base sees their advocate in Steve Bannon", said Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign adviser who has known the president for decades.

"I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late".

Trump's comments about Bannon mark the nadir of a relationship between strategist and candidate that paid massive dividends for both - dating back to August 2016 when the former CEO of Breitbart News signed onto the Republican nominee's presidential campaign.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal that reports of the in-fighting were "overblown" and said to the Post that he had told his Bannon to "straighten it out" or that he would intervene.

Bannon is not the only Trump official to find himself in the hot seat in a White House divided.

On Aug. 17, the Trump campaign announced the hiring of Bannon and the appointment of Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager.

In case anyone still didn't get that, White House press secretary Sean Spicer, himself the subject of rumors about his job status, made things very clear in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity Wednesday night.

In more than half a dozen interviews during the campaign with Bannon on Breitbart's radio show, Trump laid out his vision for leading the country, with Bannon sometimes playing the role of coach.

Kushner is family and he's not going anywhere, says Ned Ryun, founder of the conservative group American Majority.

"And what makes it even worse right now is that people have deep concerns about liberal New York Democrats associated with Goldman Sachs coming in and making strong moves at the White House". But the Bannon-Kushner feud is spilling into the public eye, and the image-conscious president has taken notice.

That view cuts to the core of why Bannon might be on the outs at the White House.

Joined by Kushner's wife Ivanka, economic adviser Gary Cohn, and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, the four represent an attempt to push the Trump administration's more toward the center, according to a report by Politico. He helped Trump put policies to his instincts and then put those policies into action - largely via executive orders and actions - in the early days of the Trump presidency.

Recent examples include a Time magazine cover story on Bannon describing him as "The Great Manipulator", being portrayed on Saturday Night Live as the Grim Reaper pulling the president's strings, as well as the Democrats branding him President Bannon to highlight his apparent influence over Trump. Bannon's anti-immigrant, anti-establishment leanings certainly influenced the travel ban, which is now held up in court for the second time.

The White House has previously downgraded the roles of those who had served in the campaign, although usually only after the individuals had left Trump's circle. But, given what Trump has said about him, it's increasingly hard to see how he stays there much longer.

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