- Thomson Reuters
- President Donald Trump is going scorched earth on former top adviser Steve Bannon.
- It comes after Bannon’s explosive comments in a forthcoming book that are critical of Trump and his family members.
- Trump’s campaign against his former adviser contradicts the notion that he hires “the best people.”
The White House has issued a fiery statement in which President Donald Trump says former top aide Steve Bannon “lost his mind” and is “only in it for himself.”
This statement follows the publication of excerpts from Michael Wolff’s forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury,” in which Wolff quotes Bannon saying Trump’s son took a “treasonous” meeting with Russian operatives in June 2016.
Perhaps more interestingly, the White House statement includes this allegation about Bannon’s uselessness:
“Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well.”
Wasn’t Trump supposed to hire “the best people”? If Bannon was such a useless, leaky fraud, even while he was serving in the White House, what does it say about Trump that he entrusted him with so much power?
Remember, it was Trump’s choice to make Bannon the CEO of his presidential campaign.
Then, after being elected, Trump named Bannon his chief strategist and senior counselor – much the same position held by Karl Rove and David Axelrod in the Bush and Obama White Houses, respectively – with the added declaration that Bannon would be an “equal partner” to Reince Priebus, then the chief of staff designate.
Upon taking office, Trump even named Bannon as a member of the National Security Council.
Granted, The New York Times reported in February that Trump was essentially tricked into doing this, because he was not fully briefed on the unusual nature of an executive order that placed Bannon on the country’s top national security policymaking body in lieu of the CIA director. But Trump called that Times report “total fiction,” which presumably means Trump put Bannon on the NSC of his own initiative.
Trump removed Bannon from the NSC in April, but he didn’t fire him until August.
Anthony Scaramucci tried to warn the president about Bannon back in July, when he was very temporarily serving as White House Communications Director. Scaramucci’s famous claim about Bannon’s attempts at autofellatio was just a more colorful version of the president’s statement today that Bannon is only in it for himself.
Yet Trump fired Scaramucci and kept Bannon in his job for about three more weeks until Bannon immolated himself, Scaramucci-style, by making an on-the-record call about internal White House business to a news outlet.
Trump is obsessed with leakers in the White House, so why is his method for rooting them out to wait for them to call up a publication and do their “leaking” on the record? Why did it take him so long to notice that Bannon was only any good at leaking?
Trump often seems frustrated that he is surrounded by idiots, and he’s not necessarily wrong about that. But these idiots didn’t appoint themselves. If the president’s staff sucks, that is foremost an indictment of him for picking these people to begin with, and then failing to say “you’re fired” until it’s much too late.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the timing of Anthony Scaramucci’s New Yorker interview that discussed Steve Bannon. The interivew was in July 2017, not May. Accordingly, it came about three weeks prior to Bannon’s termination, not three months.