- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was ousted from the White House on Friday, is reportedly planning his next steps and intends to go “nuclear” with his grievances with the Trump administration.
“Steve is now unchained,” one source close to Bannon told The Atlantic Friday. “Fully unchained.”
“You have no idea. This is gonna be really f—— bad,” another Bannon ally told the magazine.
Bannon himself appeared to confirm the sentiment to Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Joshua Green, who tweeted about the conversation:
"…for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America.” 2/2
— Joshua Green (@JoshuaGreen) August 18, 2017
According to Green, Bannon sounded as though “he’d just consumed 40 Red Bulls.”
Bannon, who has pushed a staunchly populist, anti-globalist agenda on President Trump, reportedly told friends in recent days that he believed the administration is failing, and he could more effectively influence Trump from outside the White House.
The notion may in part explain why Bannon gave a series of controversial, on-the-record interviews in recent days to outlets such as The American Prospect and the New York Times, in which he openly contradicted Trump’s stance on North Korea and criticized his colleagues. The comments were said to have angered Trump, and fueled speculation that Bannon gave the interviews in an effort to provoke his own firing.
Bannon on Friday returned as executive chairman to Breitbart News, the pro-Trump media outlet he previously ran.
“In many ways, I think Steve will feel liberated. Free from the limitations of ‘serving’ or ‘answering’ to somebody,” former Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella told Business Insider. “Now he will be able to operate openly and freely to inflict as much damage as he possibly can on the ‘globalists’ that remain in the Trump administration.”
Bannon had famously clashed with the so-called “globalists” in the White House, including senior adviser Jared Kushner and economic adviser Gary Cohn, who Bannon frequently likened to Democrats. According to media reports, Bannon was widely disliked throughout the administration and therefore had few allies to lean on as the environment grew increasingly hostile to him.
Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly did not understand what Bannon’s role in the White House was, why he had a PR portfolio, or why he so consistently clashed with colleagues, Politico reported on Friday.
“People didn’t know what he did other than stab his colleagues in the back,” one senior White House official told the website. “No one liked him.”