5 Disturbing Indications Steve Bannon Is Back in Trump's Good Graces
When Donald Trump removed his chief strategist from the National Security Council on April 5, political pundits all but declared the end of Steve Bannon's political career, refocusing their attention on Trump's close adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. But with fresh scandals rocking the White House almost daily, Bannon appears to be back in the president's good graces, according to a detailed new report from New York Magazine.
"By the time he left for Saudi Arabia on May 19, Trump had awakened to the danger the Russia investigation poses to his presidency,” writes journalist Joshua Green. “So he brought Bannon out of the doghouse and gave him a familiar mission: to organize a defense, go after his enemies, and head off the latest threat to Trump’s political career."
Here are five disturbing signs that the Great Manipulator has returned to Trump's side.
1. Jared Kushner's relationship with the president is on the rocks.
Following revelations from the Washington Post that Kushner intended to set up a secret communication channel with the Kremlin, Trump has made a conscious effort to distance himself from his son-in-law.
"According to advisers inside and outside the White House, Trump grew frustrated with [him], not just over the Russia stories but over reports that members of Kushner’s family, in an effort to entice Chinese investors seeking EB-5 visas to back a New Jersey real-estate project, hinted at their Trump connection. Both issues hastened Bannon’s resurrection," writes Green.
2. When everything goes to hell, Bannon offers the kind of advice Trump wants most.
"Despite his portrayal as Trump’s Rasputin, Bannon’s return was prompted less by his own influence than by the president’s needs,” writes Green.
"Nobody has ever really had the power to control Trump for long — a fact beleaguered White House officials can agree on. Bannon is less 'The Great Manipulator' than Trump’s indispensable henchman, the man he turns to when everything’s going to hell. Bannon is astute enough to discern Trump’s desires and heedless enough to carry it out."
3. The Trump administration has renewed its push for a Muslim ban.
Trump's efforts to enforce stricter immigration policies and deportation proceedings, as well as revive the Muslim travel ban, are policies firmly in line with Bannon's agenda.
"The Supreme Court’s decision in late June to allow the administration’s travel ban to take partial effect was another victory for Bannon, its principal architect. The House just passed two immigration bills, and, White House officials say privately, Congress will soon act on four more," writes Green.
4. Trump is employing Bannon's PR strategy.
At a time when the administration is under the threat of exposure and collapse, the president is eager to deflect criticism, incompetence and scandal onto the opposition. For Trump, the man to do this has always been Steve Bannon.
Just a month before the 2016 election, an "Access Hollywood" video leaked of Trump telling Billy Bush, "When you’re a star, they let you do it...You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.” It seemed like the footage might sink his campaign for good, but Trump responded by going on the offensive—with Bannon by his side.
“I’ve said some foolish things,” Trump said in a televised statement, before adding, likely at Bannon's counsel, “Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims."
5. Trump's foreign policy has grown increasingly nationalistic.
Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and his fervently jingoistic July speech in Warsaw smack of Bannon's nationalist rhetoric.
"Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord was a sign that nationalism still holds sway, as was his July speech in Poland warning of the decline of the West," writes Green.