As you may have heard, Steve Bannon—chief strategist of the Trump regime and white nationalist bogeyman subsisting on Breitbart blood magic and Seinfeld royalties—lost his seat on the National Security Council. The fact that he was even on there to begin with was a major deal, since the presence of an adviser was so unprecedented within that august body. Now, less than three months later, he’s been ousted at the behest of Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster (a real person, despite the name), and the humbling move is an indication that his fortunes and influence within the executive branch are waning.
According to the NYTimes, Bannon actually threatened to quit if the move went through, and then backed down—the opposite of a power move. Politico takes it a step further, claiming that it took Republican “mega-donor” Rebekah Mercer to convince him not to quit after serious infighting with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who he accused of “trying to undermine his populist approach.” The truth is plain to see—Bannon is doing battle with the establishment, and he’s losing.
But there’s one detail in the Times story that was particularly gratifying, and I’ll re-print it here in all its glory:
Moreover, Mr. Bannon’s Svengali-style reputation has chafed on a president who sees himself as the West Wing’s only leading man. Several associates said the president had quietly expressed annoyance over the credit Mr. Bannon had received for setting the agenda — and Mr. Trump was not pleased by the “President Bannon” puppet-master theme promoted by magazines, late-night talk shows and Twitter.
Now, we can’t necessarily prove that the #PresidentBannon movement was solely responsible for his ongoing downfall. The guy did screw up the immigration ban, massively, and the threats he issued to congressional Republicans in the health care debacle betrayed his weakness. He also seemed to make enemies everywhere he went, without bothering to foster many allies. However, beyond his other failures, it’s clear that the psy-ops tactic from the left was devastatingly effective. How do you influence a guy with Trump’s ego? You suggest that someone else is truly holding the reins of power. He can tolerate almost anything, but not that—the idea that there’s a puppetmaster is anathema to a man whose insecurity is so bone-deep that he can’t withstand even the slightest implication that he’s not the Biggest Boy in the Room.
#PresidentBannon pissed him off, just as it was designed to do. Here at Paste, all we can say is that we’re happy to have played our small part.