Battle rages for soul of Trump presidency; Bannon threatens to quit

The New York Times reported this morning that a battle is raging in the West Wing between globalists and nationalists, and Bannon is losing, according to an unnamed White House source. The struggle is significant because it could determine whether Trump engages with the rest of the world or pursues an isolationism policy going forward. He apparently is doing some soul-searching about his presidency after getting off to a rocky start. CNBC says,

“White House chief strategist Steve Bannon didn’t just lose his position on the National Security Council; the news exposed a rift inside the West Wing. ‘Mr. Bannon resisted the move, even threatening at one point to quit if it went forward, according to a White House official who …  insisted on anonymity …,’ the New York Times reports. [A] source familiar with the situation describes to Welker a ‘war’ emerging between the ‘globalists’ in the West Wing like … Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and the ‘nationalists’ like Bannon.”

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough also weighed in:

“Seeing plummeting approval ratings and a health-care debacle in the House, President Trump has come to realize that the source of much of the chaos inside his White House has been Steve Bannon. Bannon himself has been extraordinarily frustrated inside the White House, at one point saying, ‘If my talents aren’t needed here, I can take them somewhere else.'”

But the situation is not as simple as Trump solving his problems by jettisoning Bannon. As CNBC points out,

“Someone was going to have to take the blame for President Trump’s rough first weeks in office. And it appears the person many want to … blame is Bannon. … Then again, ‘[T]here is a risk for Mr. Trump in appearing to minimize Mr. Bannon, a hero to the nationalist, anti-immigration base that helped drive Mr. Trump to an Electoral College victory.'”

In other words, if Trump pushes aside Bannon, he breaks faith with — if not outright abandons — his core supporters. But if he doesn’t, he’ll alienate key GOP leaders and his presidency will continue to stumble. It’s hard to see how a happy ending comes out of this for Mr. Trump.

Read story here.

Photo: “Does this mean we’re not friends anymore?”





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