As we all know by now, Donald Trump today quintupled down on his antagonism toward Paul Ryan. Trump is back in his element: attacking Republicans. It’s what he does best. And The Hill reports that his right-hand man, campaign CEO Steve Bannon (formerly of Breitbart.com) once called for the political destruction of Paul Ryan:
On editorial conference calls, the Breitbart chairman would often say “Paul Ryan is the enemy,” according to a source who worked with Bannon at the news organization.
In December 2015, weeks after Ryan became Speaker, Bannon wrote in an internal Breitbart email obtained by The Hill that the “long game” for his news site was for Ryan to be “gone” by the spring.
. . . .
Bannon’s disregard for Ryan has been recorded in other reports, but this is the first time emails have emerged that showed him setting a timeframe for trying to get rid of the Speaker.
Bannon is now giving Trump advice as his campaign CEO.
A brief personal note: I know how Paul Ryan feels when Steve Bannon calls him “the enemy.” Steve Bannon once used those exact words about me.
I have told this story in more detail before, but in brief, I once criticized the Breitbart Web site for attempting to paper over a mistake and pretend it had never happened, rather than forthrightly acknowledging it. The next day, one of the staffers at Breitbart told me the following. I’ll remove some letters from the curse words . . . but they were not removed in the version of the message I received:
I was told by Bannon — with Larry listening — to tell you, from them
F**k you, go f**k yourself — you’re the enemy and a backstabber
And you’re dead to them
that’s a quote — and I was told to go tell you
Bannon at the time was the executive chairman of Breitbart News, and “Larry” is Larry Solov, the site’s co-founder.
So: having been the target of a screaming Steve Bannon rant myself, I can empathize with Paul Ryan.
Getting back to the Hill piece, I think my favorite part of the article is this passage:
“Bannon has Alex Jones-level paranoia about Paul Ryan,” the source said, referring to the right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist who runs the pro-Trump website Infowars.
“He goes on these amazing rants,” the source added of Bannon. “He thinks Paul Ryan is part of a conspiracy with George Soros and Paul Singer, in which elitists want to bring one world government.”
If you don’t know who Alex Jones is, by the way, he thinks Hillary Clinton is a demon from hell. And he’s rather passionate about it, as this video attests:
Really, watch the video. I’ve watched it several times. You’ll thank me.
I wonder if that’s what Steve Bannon looks like as he screams at Trump that Paul Ryan is the enemy.