After learning of Steve Bannon's hostile (yet accurate) comments about both the infamous Trump Tower meeting and the ridiculous palace intrigue of the Trump White House, Donald Trump did was he always does: Threw a public temper tantrum and attacked Bannon.
In a blistering statement issued by the White House, Trump said Bannon has "lost his mind."
"When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind," Trump said in a statement. "Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books."
If Trump had left it at that, it would have been enough. He gets his petty revenge, his ego is sated, life goes on. But Trump inevitably pushes it too far because, frankly, he's not that bright and has zero self control. Instead of just attacking Bannon, he dismisses everything he contributed to Trump being elected, including all of the effort by Breitbart.com, its highly engaged readers, and the billionaire Mercer family that funded it all:
Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn't as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country.
Except that's not true at all. Before the Mercers more or less ordered Trump to put Bannon in charge, the Trump campaign was pure chaos, much like his White House:
In extemporaneous remarks, Trump thanked the Mercers, saying that they had been “instrumental in bringing some organization” to his campaign. He specifically named Bannon, Conway, and Bossie. Trump then joked that he’d just had the longest conversation of his life with Bob Mercer—and it was just “two words.” A guest at the party told me, “I was looking around the room, and I thought, No doubt about it—the people whom the Mercers invested in, my comrades, are now in charge.”
With Bannon running the show and Breitbart as a reliable propaganda machine, it was enough (along with Russian interference, historic media malpractice, widespread voter suppression, and that letter from the FBI) to squeak out a marginal win.
By arrogantly claiming all the credit, Trump is telling the Mercers that they don't matter. I can't imagine they're going to smile and accept that insult from a clown like Trump after all they've done to put him where he is.
The same goes for the crowd at Breitbart who were instrumental in fomenting the rage that powered Trump's campaign. Without the white nationalists of the "alt-right" swarming social media with their hate speech, Trump's more mainstream followers would not have felt nearly as empowered to express their inner Nazi. For Trump to so casually blow Bannon and, by extension, Breitbart off like this will not sit well.
It's possible that Trump will realize what he's done and soften his tone in the coming days. It's also possible that he's underestimating the newly minted power of the white nationalist movement to shape right wing politics. With Trump's track record of never ever apologizing, it's more likely he'll double down and turn a significant part of the white nationalist movement against him. Considering Trump's approval rating is already floating around historic lows, he can't afford to alienate anyone in his base, much less some of his most enthusiastic (and racist) supporters.
Let's hope Trump keeps being Trump and keeps shrinking his already dwindling base.
There are 306 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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