UPDATE: Steve Bannon has been fired.
President Trump’s controversial advisor, Steve Bannon, emulated his departed enemy Anthony Scaramucci, for some inexplicable reason, by calling up a journalist to vent about his co-workers!
But Bannon’s behavior is even more inexplicable than what Scaramucci did. He called up the arch-liberal journalist Robert Kuttner, editor of the “progressive” magazine the American Prospect, who has written up the interview in his article Steve Bannon, Unrepentant.
In his conversation, Bannon bragged about how he was going to get rid of his opponents in the State Department and the Defense Department, mentioning them by name. And in line with Scaramucci’s crudeness, he said his administration enemies are “wetting themselves.” Bannon even criticized Trump’s respected economics advisor Gary Cohn. (The president’s top economic advisor, Cohn, who is Jewish, is reportedly furious about the Charlottesville debacle. The stock market dropped nearly 300 points on the rumor that he was resigning. He now says that he won’t.)
Bannon also said that the white nationalists in Charlottesville–with whom he is often rightly or wrongly associated–are “clowns” and “losers.” He thus distanced himself from President Trump’s refusal to condemn them unequivocally. So perhaps the phone call had to do with his need for self-justification.
But why say all of this to such a liberal publication, one explicitly dedicated to resisting the Trump administration? The immediate reason Bannon called Kuttner was in thanks for an article he wrote in the Prospect criticizing China’s economic policies, one of Bannon’s pet causes.
At any rate, to go on as he did, airing the administration in-fighting in public, was unprofessional in the extreme. It is also incompetent.
President Trump has problems with being undisciplined and careless with his words. This is evidently a problem with his staff as well.
Could Bannon’s phone call to Kuttner be an act of hara-kiri to get himself fired, as Scaramucci was?
If so, maybe his departure–and possibly that of some other staffers–would help get the office of the presidency back on track.
Photo of Steve Bannon by Don Irvine [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons