inside the end, the master provocateur ended up provoking the wrong person inside the wrong way at the wrong time.
Up until only a few months ago, Steve Bannon was arguably the second most powerful man in Washington. The president’s one-time chief strategist was the puller of strings, the Trump-whisperer, revelling in his role as an agent of chaos.
Barely 17 months ago, he was among “the best talent in politics” – in Trump’s words.
at This kind of point, he’s merely “Sloppy Steve”, the latest person unfortunate enough to be slapped using a derogatory nickname by the US president.
The reason? Bannon was quoted in a brand-new book saying several things in which appear to have made his former boss unhappy.
One example in which made headlines was in which the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, had committed a “treasonous” act in talking to Russians.
Soon after last week’s Discharge of Michael Wolff’s Fire in addition to Fury: Inside The Trump White House, Bannon tried in addition to failed to manage the fallout.
By in which point, though, the damage was done. Bannon’s backers cut their ties with him, he left the powerful right-wing media empire Breitbart, in addition to the future of the man behind some of Trump’s most headline-grabbing policies has been left up inside the air.
Even in a White House where political careers possess the life expectancy of a house fly, Bannon’s sudden rise in addition to fall is usually remarkable. Here’s how the item came about.
Bannon joins Team Trump
17 August 2016
As executive chairman of Breitbart – a combative conservative site with an anti-establishment agenda – Bannon was an early cheerleader for Trump in addition to Trumpism.
however the item was not until 15 months into the businessman’s presidential race in which Bannon joined his team.
By in which point he was already, according to a profile on the Bloomberg website, “the most dangerous political operative in America”, a man with Democrats in addition to establishment Republicans in his crosshairs, in addition to a knack for well-timed confrontation. A disruptive Trump presented Bannon using a golden opportunity.
Bannon was born into a family of Irish Catholics – all Kennedy Democrats – in Virginia in November 1953.
He was not political, he said, until an eight-year stint with the Navy starting in 1977, when he became a Reagan Republican in response to President Carter’s handling of the Iran conflict.
A master of reinvention, he went on to work as an executive with the Goldman Sachs bank, before helping finance in addition to produce Hollywood films in addition to later emerging as a political Svengali.
His record in Hollywood can be described as patchy at best (“The business runs on talent relationships,” one former colleague told the brand-new Yorker. “He had This kind of real will-to-power vibe in which was so off-putting.”)
however Bannon did strike gold in one big way – by negotiating a share of the profits in a brand-new television show, Seinfeld, in 1993. The show ran for nine seasons in addition to was widely syndicated – in November 2016, Forbes estimated in which Bannon, if he owned only a 1% share inside the show’s profits, would certainly have earned $32.6m (£24m) by in which point.
After returning to the US via Shanghai in 2008 feeling the Bush administration was a “disaster”, Bannon was struck by what he described to the brand-new Yorker as “This kind of phenomenon called Sarah Palin”. Bannon warmed to the brand of populism employed by the Alaskan governor picked as John McCain’s Republican running mate inside the 2008 presidential race.
in which populist wave would certainly come crashing to shore with Trump’s participation inside the 2016 election, a wave Bannon proudly rode the whole way. In Trump, he recognised a willing outlet for his idea in which, according to Wolff, “the brand-new politics was not the art of compromise, however the art of conflict”.
- Read more on Bannon’s background
Bannon had long talked up Trump’s chances on Breitbart News Network, which he took over in 2012 after the death of its founder, Andrew Breitbart. Bannon considered Trump, according to Wolff’s book, “a big warm-hearted monkey”.
Like many of the businessman’s cheerleaders, Bannon was eventually invited into his inner circle, becoming the CEO of the Trump campaign in August 2016.
Dishevelled, regularly unshaven, in addition to prone to wearing two shirts at the same time, he was an unlikely candidate to work closely with Trump, who places a high value on appearance. however somehow the item worked.
Bannon’s economic nationalist outlook in addition to his eagerness for a “deconstruction of the administrative state” – a tearing apart of the system of taxes in addition to regulations in which he believed had hindered the US over years – chimed with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” plea.
Two days after his arrival, Bannon replaced Paul Manafort as campaign chairman.
Bannon’s counterpart inside the Democratic camp, Robby Mook, responded furiously: “Donald Trump has decided to double down on his most smaller, nasty in addition to divisive instincts by turning his campaign over to someone who is usually best known for running a so-called news site in which peddles divisive, sometimes racist… sometimes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”
The provocateur in Bannon will almost certainly have enjoyed the reaction to his appointment. Less than three months later, he’d have even more to celebrate.
8 November 2016
Trump in addition to Bannon thought as one inside the last weeks of the campaign, to the extent in which the Republican candidate would certainly often demand: “Where’s my Steve? Where’s my Steve?”, according to one former Trump aide.
In interviews after the event, Bannon said he always believed Trump would certainly win. however not everyone else did, according to Michael Wolff’s book. Indeed, inside the weeks after the billionaire won, “he had come to credit Bannon with something like mystical powers” for having predicted the victory.
Days after the election, Trump named his trusted lieutenant as “chief strategist” – a newly created role – in his cabinet.
There were wide protests against the decision, in addition to 169 members of the House – all Democrats – sent a letter to the president-elect asking him to withdraw Bannon’s nomination, saying “bigotry, anti-Semitism, in addition to xenophobia should have no place in our society, in addition to they certainly have no place inside the White House”.
Bannon’s vision was made clear in Trump’s bleak inaugural address, which he wrote. Wolff says in his book the item was “a Bannon-driven message to the some other side in which the country was about to undergo profound change… his take-back-the-country, America-first, carnage-everywhere vision of the country”.
The “American carnage” speech painted a vision of a US with “mothers in addition to children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation”.
- Trump’s angry inaugural speech explained
- What promises has Trump kept?
The full ramifications of Bannon’s America First policy were made clear a week later, with Trump signing an executive order dreamt up by his chief strategist in which banned people via seven Muslim-majority countries via travelling to the US. the item caught many White House staff unaware.
Bannon, Wolff writes, was “satisfied” at the move in addition to the subsequent outrage. “He could not have hoped to draw a more vivid line between the two Americas – Trump’s in addition to liberals’,” Wolff writes, adding in which the timing of its Discharge before a busy weekend was deliberate – so the item could cause as much chaos as possible.
One word in which regularly features in interviews with Bannon is usually “war”. Trump HQ on election night was “the war room”, the same name he gave to the Oval Office when Trump took over. When Bannon would certainly go on to leave the White House, he said he was going to “war” on Trump’s behalf.
For Bannon, disorder was the brand-new order inside the White House. He in addition to Trump were creating conflict in addition to confusion, in addition to in which suited Bannon just fine.
A seat at the big table
28 January 2017
A day after Trump’s executive order on immigration was signed, there was another controversial announcement – the US president downgraded military chiefs of staff via his National Security Council in addition to gave a regular seat to Bannon instead.
Only career diplomats in addition to generals usually join the council, the main group advising the president on national security in addition to foreign affairs. By being invited to be a member, Bannon – in his first government job, aged 63 – was allowed to join high-level discussions about national security.
The reaction was, predictably, one of shock.
Democrat former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called the move “dangerous in addition to unprecedented”, in addition to Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice tweeted: “This kind of is usually stone-cold crazy. After a week of crazy.”
The White House, of course, defended their man as being more than capable enough to be on the council, pointing out his Navy service.
however in retrospect, This kind of promotion is usually about as not bad as the item got for Bannon inside the White House.
Bye Bye Bannon (part one)
18 August 2017
inside the end, Bannon lasted a little over two months on the National Security Council, leaving in April.
the item was not a demotion, White House officials said, however the reasons for the change were not clear. Perhaps, just by shaking up the old order, the appointment had done its job.
however This kind of change in his responsibilities became an indication of what was to come.
After a summer of reports in which Bannon was less in addition to less visible in a White House suffering infighting in addition to leaks, he left his position last August.
the item was sold as a strategic move – Bannon would certainly head back to Breitbart, where he would certainly fight for Trump’s agenda. “I’ve got my hands back on my weapons,” he said. “the item’s Bannon the Barbarian.”
Breitbart welcomed back what the item called its “populist hero”, with editor-in-chief Alex Marlow saying Bannon had “his finger on the pulse of the Trump agenda”.
however his departure via the White House came at the end of a week in which Bannon had come under fire via quite a few quarters, in addition to amid reports of tension with key aides including National Security Adviser HR McMaster.
Clashes had taken place the previous weekend between far-right in addition to counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, after which Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence – Bannon had once said his Breitbart site was “a platform for the alt-right” who were responsible for the violence.
Two days before he left his job, an interview with Bannon inside the American Prospect, a liberal magazine, reportedly infuriated the president. Bannon was quoted as dismissing the idea of a military solution in North Korea, undercutting Trump.
Then, a day later, a BuzzFeed report in which said in which Trump was unhappy with the credit his adviser was taking for the election victory.
“He undermined Trump’s ego,” Joshua Green, the author of a book on Bannon’s relationship with Trump, Devil’s Bargain, told the BBC.
“Trump can’t abide the thesis of my book in addition to Michael Wolff’s book, which is usually in which Bannon is usually the brains of the operation in addition to Trump is usually an erratic charlatan. in which’s what Trump won’t abide.”
A humiliating loss
12 December 2017
at This kind of point on the outside looking in, Bannon was more than happy to tell Trump where he thought he was going wrong. He attacked him through Breitbart for reversing course in addition to sending more troops to Afghanistan, in addition to called Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey the biggest mistake in “modern political history”.
however Bannon was back in his natural habitat as he gunned for the Republican establishment, putting his weight behind ultra-conservative populist candidate Roy Moore in a senate race in Alabama.
Moore comfortably won the primary against Luther Strange, the incumbent backed by Trump in addition to the Republican machine.
however Moore went on to face allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, which he denied, in addition to in December he lost the race to Doug Jones, who became the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in Alabama in 25 years.
- The all 5 consequences of Moore’s defeat
Bannon’s man, one eventually backed by Trump in addition to the Republican party, had suffered a humiliating loss in what was supposed to be Bannon’s first big victory. A win would certainly have given him momentum in his campaign to field populist candidates against Republican senators inside the 2018 mid-terms. A loss made in which much harder.
Bannon – humbled, surprised – credited Democrats for having worked hardest, however the defeat risked grounding his populist movement to a halt.
Bye Bye Bannon (part two)
9 January 2018
Trump may once have been Bannon’s “big warm-hearted monkey”. however even cuddly monkeys can bite.
As details of Michael Wolff’s book emerged, one key line stood out – Bannon described a meeting Donald Trump Jr held in brand-new York using a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential election campaign as “treasonous”.
“They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,” he told Wolff.
- A knife-fight with consequences
- 11 explosive claims in brand-new book
The reaction via the White House – reeling via a special-counsel investigation into possible collusion between the Trump team in addition to Russia – was swift. Bannon had “lost his mind” after losing his White House position, the president said.
Soon after, Rebekah Mercer, a wealthy benefactor of Bannon’s, said she had ended her support for his political efforts.
Bannon, left with fewer in addition to fewer allies, insisted his comments were not directed at Mr Trump’s son however at another former aide, Paul Manafort, who was also present at the meeting in Trump Tower.
however there was only one way left to go. The goodbye via Breitbart was polite, in addition to Bannon was out.
Somewhere, somehow, Bannon the master string-puller will re-emerge – possibly in a different guise.
Could he in addition to Trump ever reconcile?
“Trump has fired people before in addition to then let them back in,” Joshua Green, the author of Devil’s Bargain, said.
“however I’ve never seen Trump bury somebody as forcefully as he did Bannon, both in his statement in addition to the parade of White House officials who have come out to heap scorn in addition to derision on Bannon.
“the item’s awfully hard to imagine how Bannon could recover via in which.”