Thursday August 17, 2017

Are Steve Bannon's days in the White House numbered?

Journalist and author Joshua Green says the key to understanding the triumph of Trumpism is to look at the role Steven Bannon plays in the White House.

Journalist and author Joshua Green says the key to understanding the triumph of Trumpism is to look at the role Steven Bannon plays in the White House. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

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He's been called Trump's brain  and even "President Bannon" but as Trump's imperilled presidency lurches on, many — both inside and outside the Republican Party — want White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon gone.

Bannon remains a lightning rod for concern around the hold the extreme-right has on this presidency.  

Journalist Joshua Green explores the relationship between Trump and his right-hand advisor in his book, Devil's Bargain, and says the key to understanding Bannon is the key to understanding Trump.

He warns if Bannon is fired, the consequences could fall hard on Trump.

"It would be be potentially problematic for Trump's political standing," Green tells The Current's host Megan Williams, "partly because it is so low to begin with."

Devil's Bargain Book Cover

Author of Devil's Bargain, journalist Joshua Green says U.S. President Donald Trump was unhappy with his book 'because it gives Steve Bannon co-equal billing on the cover." (Penguin Random House/Getty Images)

"He's sunk to 34, 35 percent in most polls. The people who have stood by him are these hardcore believers that Bannon thinks are essential to Trump's political success. So if Bannon were to leave or be pushed out, it's possible that number could sink even lower." 

Furthermore, he says, it's unclear who would support Trump or "whether his own party will turn on him."

But Green does think the alt right would be very upset with Bannon being fired because they see him as "being their man in the White House — the avatar of this kind of nationalist populism that I think has a much broader appeal than white nationalism."

"Bannon is also known to be the true believer ...  in Trump's White House in a way that no one else really is."

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'He is not a racist. I can tell you that he's a good person ... but we'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon,' U.S. President Donald Trump said at a news conference, Aug. 15. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Bannon has been caught up in the firestorm swirling around Donald Trump since he blamed neo-Nazis and anti-Nazi protesters of being equally responsible for the violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Va.

Green believes that Trump's limp response to the neo-Nazi riot, which left anti-fascist activist Heather Heyer dead, reflected Bannon's belief that blaming right-wing extremists would be giving into political correctness.

However, in an interview with The American Prospect on Aug. 16, the former Breitbart editor criticized white nationalists calling them "losers," "clowns," and a "fringe element."

Related: Steve Bannon calls white nationalists 'losers'

Although Republicans and Democrats have both called for Trump to fire Bannon, and members of Trump's family and cabinet would like to see the alt-right strategist booted from the White House, Green is not sure that will happen anytime soon.

"It seems pretty clear, contrary to the claims we've seen in some news reports that Bannon is off on some island and has been cast out of Trump's inner circle, that certainly doesn't seem to have been the case over the past few days."

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.