Bannon’s Been Fired. But We Should Hold Off Celebrating.
Note: This story originally appeared on my blog on August 18, 2017.
A few hours ago, CNN reported that Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was fired.
After I got done dancing for joy, I immediately started asking why. It’s not like Trump bowed to public pressure to do the right thing — Trump never paid attention to the nationwide calls for Bannon’s termination for months now. And I doubt that Bannon’s role in the constant infighting of the White House staff was the deciding factor; like the abusive patriarch of a highly dysfunctional family, Trump plays his staff members off each other to distract from his own shortcomings and keep the “family’s” dysfunctions intact and unexplored.
One theory had it that Bannon got into too many conflicts with First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. Other pundits speculate that Trump, narcissistic as ever, simply resented Bannon for getting more attention than he did. Another theory: Newly installed Chief of Staff, General Kelly, is simply throwing out the trash, getting rid of undesirable White House staffers in order to streamline and professionalize the Trump White House. Yet another theory: Bannon was fired for contradicting Trump on a possible military solution to the North Korean missile crisis.
I have my own theory. The firing of Steve Bannon was simply a ploy to distract the American people from the raging dumpster fire of an administration while Bannon, a highly loyal foot soldier of Trump’s, simply moved into a position better suited to pushing the Trump agenda.
After all, Bannon was more useful to Trump as head of Breitbart News, an internet site whose racist, misogynistic, and rabidly anti-Clinton commentary played directly to the prejudices and preconceptions of the #MAGA crowd, than he ever was as a campaign manager. Bannon, as a private citizen, is subject to none of the legal, ethical, or social moorings that reduced his effectiveness as a White House staffer. And, given that Bannon’s official title was “Chief Strategist”, he can most likely continue in that role in an unofficial capacity.
So, let’s not celebrate this latest White House shake-up just yet. Given Trump’s unpredictability and his refusal to offer up any real denunciation of white nationalism, we probably haven’t seen the last of Bannon.