Andre Walker discusses Trump’s next steps and offers a fascinating insight into the dynamics and inter personal relationships of the President’s White House team.
Another week, another right-winger is thrown out of the White House. Last week was Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon this week his close ally and Deputy Assistant, Seb Gorka, got the chop. They joined a long line of people pushed out by a group that Bannon disparagingly refers to as “the globalists”.
To most people in Britain the whole thing seems like chaos, but actually, there is sense to be made of this madness. It’s the result of having multiple political ‘parties’ forced into one ‘Republican Party’ brand as a result of the American electoral system.
Bannon and Gorka (and indeed Stephen Miller – who will be sacked next) represent a ‘party’ that wants to be non-interventionist, nationalist and even protectionist. They support free trade, but only with countries that have similar wage levels and workers’ rights. Hence, they pushed heavily for the ending of the North American Free Trade Area in favour of a post-Brexit deal with the UK that also keeps trade open with Canada.
On foreign policy, they essentially believe the Muslim world is a basket case, best left to kill itself as long as the refugees don’t spill over into the west. And they are tough on China because of its theft of American intellectual property which they say was not punished by previous administrations.
But for Bannon, the Trump’s bombing of Syria in April was a watershed.
In the UK, the easiest way to know Bannon’s mind is to read what Nigel Farage is saying. They are very close, and Farage basically fell out with Trump after he criticised the bombing I doubt Bannon was as polite about it as Farage, but either way, his tough stance sealed his fate.
That was the moment the Globalists had a real chance of taking the White House from the Nationalists because it was the moment Bannon and his cohorts were critical of Trump himself. Criticism Trump hated, and privately railed against.
When people talk about the Globalists, it’s really code for Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump (nicknamed Javanka by Bannon). The billionaire New York Jewish couple are the sort of establishment figures Bannon hates. But their views enjoy huge support amongst the Republican establishment, which wants to see a much more moderate line domestically and continued military interventions abroad.
Bannon is rarely naive but the thought that someone as dynastic as Trump would ever favour him over his own daughter is just silly. That said, Bannon is also a fast learner, and returning to Breitbart was the obvious way for him to reassert his power.
It took him away from ‘family life’ in the White House and back onto the more familiar territory of energising the Nationalist base he built himself. The day he was sacked he chaired the Breitbart Editorial meeting and three days before the departure he met the billionaire owner of the company: Robert Mercer.
If I had a tenner I’d bet Mercer and Bannon will announce a major expansion of Breitbart in the next few weeks. Probably into TV and radio.
So, what now for Trump? Well, his relationship with the Nationalists is slightly sour, but it is not dead. His team will receive some pretty fearsome criticism from Bannon’s Breitbart but Trump himself is unlikely to get anything other than full support come the next election.
If Bill Clinton’s people were in the White House right now they would tell Trump to ‘triangulate’, i.e. reach out beyond his core support. With that in mind perhaps Trump is onto a winner when he assumes Bannon’s people have to vote for him, whilst being nice to the Kushner moderates.
Perhaps that is where the Trump coalition can be built.