Remember all that scatter-talk about conflict in the Trump White House, between Bannon factions and Reince Priebus faithful?
Yeah, that might not be a problem, for much longer.
Creeping in among all the news surrounding last night’s tomahawk strike on a Syrian airbase, is a report that President Trump may be looking to boot both Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus from their current positions as chief strategist and White House Chief of Staff.
A report from Axios today touched on the move, which, if it happens, will be a major shakeup in an administration that has yet to see the 100 day mark.
A top aide to Trump said he’s contemplating major changes, but that the situation is very fluid and the timing uncertain: “Things are happening, but it’s very unclear the president’s willing to pull that trigger.”
The top aide — along with many other Trump officials, advisers and friends — told us that it seems to be more a question of “when” not “whether” change will come: “The tension, the exhaustion, the raw nerves have gotten much harder to disguise.”
When Steve Bannon was bounced from his seat on the principals committee of the National Security Council, some took that as a sign that the former Breitbart CEO was falling out of favor with the president.
Bannon scoffed at the notion of any weakening of his position within the power structure, but then took what has been seen as his customary defensive posture, declaring that he “loves a gunfight.”
Priebus has been under fire for much longer.
Many seemed to see his establishment credentials as being anathema to Trump’s nationalist agenda, and the rumors of conflict between he and Bannon began early.
At one point, Bannon and Priebus appeared together, in an effort to defuse the rumors of discontent between them.
Still, a list of names has been released of those who may be under consideration to take Priebus’ place.
- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who developed a bond with Trump as one of the earlier congressional leaders to support him, and remains a confidant.
- Wayne Berman of Blackstone Group, a Washington heavy-hitter who was an Assistant Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. Bush, and a key adviser on eight presidential campaigns.
- David Urban of the Washington advisory firm American Continental Group, and a former chief of staff to the late Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Urban helped Trump win an upset victory in Pennsylvania, and was in constant cellphone contact with the candidate throughout the campaign.
- Gary Cohn, Trump’s economic adviser and the former #2 at Goldman Sachs, who has built a formidable team and internal clout.
For the moment, Gary Cohn’s name seems to be getting the most play, which could mean somebody completely different is being considered. With this administration, nothing is for sure.
My take: Forget Bannon and Priebus. If you want to know who’s in and who’s out, look to Jared Kushner, the real power-behind-the-throne.
The rumors of conflict between Bannon and Kushner have heated up recently, and Bannon will not win this one.
An article from The Daily Beast reported on the conflict on Thursday:
The fighting between Kushner and Bannon has been “nonstop” in recent weeks, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. It’s been an “open secret” that Bannon and Kushner often clash “face-to-face,” according to senior officials.
One official said Bannon has lately complained about Kushner trying to “shiv him and push him out the door” and likened him to a fifth column in the White House.
“[Steve] recently vented to us about Jared being a ‘globalist’ and a ‘cuck’…He actually said ‘cuck,’ as in “cuckservative,’” the administration official told The Daily Beast.
Whether that be rumor or truth, my money is on Kushner in this battle.
How the developments in Syria may play into the White House’s willingness to allow for inner conflict to create a dual media storm remains to be seen.