President Trump and his former White House chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, have a confusing relationship. Trump reportedly dislikes when anyone credits Bannon as being the "mastermind" behind his campaign, at one point telling the New York Post that "you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late." On the other hand, the pair have spoken on the phone more than half a dozen times — "most initiated by the president" — since Bannon was ousted in August, Vanity Fair writes.
And while Bannon claims he is assisting Trump from his resumed post atop Breitbart, he doesn't appear to think especially highly of the president's intelligence. "He's like an 11-year-old child," Bannon reportedly joked to a friend last month.
Bannon apparently isn't always so generous in his remarks, though. One "prominent Republican" added to Vanity Fair: "I think there was a lot of rage when [Bannon] was in the White House. Steve had to subsume his ego to Donald, who Steve thinks is dumb and crazy."
Stephen Bannon and former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos privately bemoaned Donald Trump's pick of Mike Pence as a running mate during the 2016 campaign, BuzzFeed News reports. The emails obtained by BuzzFeed News were, notably, exchanged just weeks before Bannon took over the Trump campaign:
On July 15, 2016, the day the Trump campaign announced that it had selected Pence, Breitbart's former technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos wrote to Bannon and Breitbart editor Alex Marlow.
"Seems like a bad pick. Should I tweet something ambivalent about him? People are telling me Trump likely didn't want this. ... What's our party line on this?"
"This is the price we pay for cruzbots and #nevertrump movement," Bannon responded. "An unfortunate necessity ... very. feel free to do whatever u want. we, as always, will remain above it all." [BuzzFeed News]
Bannon, who has rejoined Breitbart since being ousted from the White House, has since declared "war" on establishment Republicans of the sort that onetime representative and governor Pence might have been. Read the full report at BuzzFeed News. Jeva Lange
Stephen Bannon is clearly enjoying the freedom to speak his mind again, at least judging by an interview he gave to The Economist just two days after his departure from the White House. "In the White House, I had influence," Bannon told The Economist, but "at Breitbart, I had power."
Together again at last, Breitbart and Bannon are spoiling for a #war, and Bannon offered some insight into where his crosshairs might land:
Among the particular opponents he has in his sights, said Mr. Bannon, seated in a dining room decorated with Christian iconography and political mementos, are congressional Republicans ("Mitch McConnell, I'm going to light him up"), China ("Let's go screw up One Belt One Road"), and "the elites in Silicon Valley and Wall Street — they're a bunch of globalists who have forgotten their fellow Americans." [The Economist]