Bannon in peril? Trump's criticism worries his populist base

Posted April 15, 2017

While we know nearly nothing about how our new "shadow president" sees the world, we are beginning to get an idea of Kushner's vision for the Trump administration.

"It would be a bad signal if Trump were to either force Bannon out or let him go because he is the face of the national populism that inspired a lot of voter to vote for Trump", said Ned Ryun, founder of the conservative group American Majority and a longtime friend of Bannon's.

In the interview, Trump downplayed Bannon's role in his campaign, claiming that his chief strategist was not involved "until very late".

"I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn't know Steve", the president said.

Trump's assertion to both the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal that he is his own strategist and that he deserves all of the credit for getting elected reeks of his dissatisfaction with the way credit and attention is being doled out. But now that President Trump is in the White House, Bannon might be losing his influence.

"Steve is a good guy, but I told them to straighten it out or I will", the president said.

The drama surrounding the rumored in-fighting has been widely leaked in the past few weeks.

But it follows Bannon's ceremonial removal from his prestigious perch on the National Security Council, at a time when the portfolio of Kushner, husband to Ivanka Trump has been expanding.

By contrast, Bannon is a staunchly populist and nationalist figure, beloved by the alt right and pushing for far right policies, who has been blamed for Trump's ongoing political woes by the Kushner-led centrist faction. But budget director Mick Mulvaney says many jobs will remain unfilled as the White House embarks on a government-wide effort to overhaul the executive branch and significantly reduce its workforce.

Former campaign chair Paul Manafort is revealed to have ties to foreign players.

Sessions added that he believes the president's agenda on immigration is "shared throughout the White House".

Bannon's potential departure could threaten Trump's support from vocal members of his base, many of whom have taken to social media to promote the Twitter hashtags #FireKushner and #KeepBannon. The comment marked the second time in as many days that Spicer appeared to struggle to articulate the president's foreign policy at a critical time.

The White House hired him anyway. And even if Bannon is retained, it could be challenging for such boisterous and aggressive operators to continue to serve a president who so dissed him in public.

On Monday, Spicer hosed down reports of the Bannon-Kushner infighting, but on Tuesday, Trump was talking them up.

Trump said, "when I saw that, I said we have to do something". Given Trump's comments about Bannon, you wonder if he's in an itchy mood and looking to shake things up all around as the 100-day mark approaches.

It's Bannon's rift with Kushner that seems to have troubled the president the most.