On Tuesday, Donald Trump dropped Steve Bannon from the National Security Council as part of a shakeup that somehow elevated Rick Perry to his own seat on the NSC. When the initial news broke, the White House tried to downplay the demotion while stressing that Bannon would remain chief strategist, and his place on the council was only to keep an eye on Michael Flynn (who’s gone now) in the first place. Yet a demotion like this one couldn’t possibly arrive without additional drama.
Sure enough, lips are moving. While standing on the White House lawn, Fox News’ John Roberts reported, “We are also told that maybe the President was not particularly happy at the way Bannon had been grabbing the limelight … that may have played into all of this.” How true might this be? Well, it’s Fox News, which is Trump’s favorite network, and they likely wouldn’t drop that tidbit without permission. Plus, Bannon received plenty of credit for the Muslim ban’s launch, and initial protests included a #StopPresidentBannon hashtag. That had to have bothered Trump, who sorta-accidentally appointed Bannon to the NSC because he didn’t even read the executive order that granted unprecedented power to his chief strategist. Embarrassing!
Here’s another theory … maybe SNL gave Trump the necessary push to oust Bannon? Trump cannot stand the show’s White House parodies. He was “profoundly disturbed” by Sean Spicer being portrayed by a woman (the outstanding Melissa McCarthy), yet he was said to be “especially upset” at how Bannon was portrayed as the Grim Reaper. This did not make Trump look powerful at all, for Reaper-Bannon called all the shots.
Whatever the reason for Trump no longer favoring Bannon, the New York Times reports that Bannon threatened to quit over his demotion:
“Mr. Bannon resisted the move, even threatening at one point to quit if it went forward, according to a White House official who, like others, insisted on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.”
Like Fox News, the Times also reported that Trump has grown annoyed by Bannon’s moment in the national spotlight.
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.
This is not over yet, babies. There shall be more deliciously catty remarks at some point from some source. Hell, Roger Stone already accused Jared Kushner of trying to oust Bannon, so Stone will likely film another InfoWars episode soon on the subject. Alex Jones may then run through the room, ripping his shirt off. And it looks like all those jokes from SNL and social media about Trump being Bannon’s puppet are getting to him. Imagine what a letter-writing campaign to the White House addressed to “President Bannon” would do!