You’d have to be living under a rock to have missed the latest media frenzy about Steve Bannon and President Trump. According to the tale, Steve Bannon made harsh statements about Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law, in a recent book by author Michael Wolfe who conducted several interviews in the White House with staff. Wolfe is soon publishing a hit piece called “Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House”, and excerpts leaked to the media are causing quite a stir. In response to the harsh comments Wolfe attributes to Bannon in the book (Bannon denies them), Trump issued a statement that viciously criticized Steve Bannon and appeared to sever all ties with him in a very public way.
The statement was released to the media, not directly to the president’s twitter or other social media, and by Wednesday afternoon was dominating much of the political news coverage. The storm between Trump and his former closest advisor seemed to rise up in a NY minute, leaving many conservative supporters of Bannon confused, and creating quite an uproar within the Trump voter community as well as the media.
Several of the other White House staff allegedly quoted in Wolfe’s book have directly denied the comments attributed to them, some going so far as calling Wolfe a known liar. Bannon also denies the comments attributed to him. Media reports suggest that Wolfe was able to do the interviews leading to this book because Bannon brought him in and encouraged members to do interviews with the author.
The book seeks to portray Trump’s White House as inept and divided, as well as portraying Trump in a completely negative light. With many of the other interviews already openly disputed by their subjects, it’s quite likely all of the alleged quotes are fabrications of the author Wolfe, including the ones Bannon claims were false. Wolfe has been outed in the past for publishing false quotes and misleading stories, and has a reputation for creating his own “facts” to enhance a story.
But in order to believe the media narrative at face value (Bannon insulted Trump, Trump hates Bannon now), we’d first have to believe some of Wolfe’s false assertions that the Trump adminstration is divided and inept. Now, considering the excellent results I am seeing from my president and his team, I am not easily convinced that the Trump adminstration is not being run like a well oiled machine. Thus it is much more likely this feud between Trump and Bannon is a media briar patch, and Trump has just convinced the media to throw Bannon in the ‘dreaded’ briar patch which as we all know is just home sweet home.
So if your humble author can, I will try to explain the delicious 3D chess strategy of Trump’s latest move with Steve Bannon and why it’s not anything for us Trump supporters to worry about.
The show isn’t for us, it’s for the left and their media vultures.
Act 1: Setting The Stage
The Trump presidency is a phenomenon not seen in politics. As an outsider, Trump was able to draw together the most diverse coalition of voters the Republican party had every seen. Where previous GOP presidential hopefuls had struggled to straddle the deep conservative and passionately libertarian sides of the Republican party, Trump was able to energize the extreme Christian right with as much vigor as he inspired the die hard libertarian “moderates”. His connection to voters with his America 1st, MAGA message was able to span the non-democratic voting block like other candidates have never been able to do before.
Steve Bannon was a big part in bringing in a section of the voting public that was usually disenfranchised and did not vote. His role in the campaign helped to inspire the populism that led to Trump’s election. He was also a lightning rod for criticism from the left, who found his outspoken nationalism distasteful to their global agendas.
Once the election was won, however, the task changed for both Trump and Bannon. Trump set out to govern, which inevitably meant managing and even manipulating the very divided partisan Congress to actually enact his agenda. It also meant handling the rabid yellow media, who had a constant frenzy for fresh dirt on Trump that they could provide to their billionaire media backers. It was a contentious media environment, to say the least. Bannon spent much of the past year strategizing how to handle the news and fake news, and one of those journos Bannon was commissioned to wrangle was Mr. Wolfe.
Act 2: The Impending Book and the Introduction of the Briar Patch
When Wolfe began releasing snippets of his book in pre-promotion, it became quite obvious that this book was going to create some buzz. The widely disputed quotes from White House folks are utterly damning and inflammatory. It’s most likely to be the media’s faux scandal replacement for the failed Mueller investigations.
Some might ask why the White House would even allow Wolfe to do interviews in the White House, but strategic thinking informs us that it is better to keep your enemies close than to give them ammunition and send them away. By keeping Wolfe close under Bannon’s wing, even his false narrative could be directed to help create a more easily discreditable attack…as is happening before our eyes.
The media cannot resist the opportunity to gobble up the apparent Bannon/Trump feud, one that was entirely spoon fed to them by the Trump administration and in my opinion even by Bannon himself. By joining in on the bash Bannon bandwagon, Trump has them all exactly where he wants them….again. They are doing exactly what Trump wants: dumping his lightning rod Steve Bannon directly into the briar patch and as we know from the traditional tale, that only lets the rabbit get away.
Act 3: Brer Bannon or Why All This Is Happening
The race in Alabama showed a real concern for Trump’s ability to maintain and grow his control of Congress. Well established GOP party operations must be used to draw voters to the polls, but many local voters are fed up with the well established GOP. While Trump’s nationwide draw was able to supercede the establishment sabotage, state by state races are much harder to control, much harder to secure against fraud and thus are much easier for a well established Democrat party to steal away. In order to elect a pro-Trump Congress and to enact the MAGA agenda, Trump must use the establishment GOP like a virtuoso uses his violin; with grace, skill, and only the occasional aggressive move.
He must use the GOP to bring out voters, but they are voters who elected Trump because they are fed up with the GOP. This tango between the populism of Bannon types and the needed establishment systems is critical to winning 2018 and winning re-election in 2020. The GOP will continue to work to undermine Trump and his outsider movement, and unless they are convinced to somehow side with Trump they will make it impossible to elect our candidates or enact our agenda.
So how do you get the GOP to side with Trump? Well, one strategy might be to find a common “enemy” in the ‘outsider’ movement. Enter Steve Bannon playing Brer Rabbit.
Finale: The “Demise” of Brer Bannon
With the media briar patch ready and waiting, Trump’s statement on Bannon reads like a line from the famous tale. ‘Bannon is not a part of my presidency’ is clearly a suggestion to throw Brer Bannon into the briar patch of fake news ire, a suggestion that was immediately turned into reality by a rabid press. Once again, Trump is leading the actions of the media, directing their attacks onto specific persons (in this case Bannon) rather than allow them to attack from all directions. This strategy reduces the “death by 1,000 cuts” problem by concentrating your enemy’s attack where you want it, and where you are most able to defend against it.
Trump’s statement brilliantly directs media focus for this slanderous book not at the many false attacks in it, but rather on Bannon himself, who Trump labels a self procliamed enemy of the media. Making Bannon the enemy of the media, the establishment, and Trump himself, Trump is directing and controlling the attention of the establishment and their lapdog media. Potentially, this helps Trump lead the GOP more effectively by cauterizing the divide in the Republican party with this burn on Bannon. By calling Bannon out as “only being in it for himself”, Trump makes it possible to isolate the attacks in Wolfe’s book as Bannon led, Bannon created and thus suspect and not representative of the Trump administration.
With the failure of the Russian investigation, and the attempts to find other criminal acts to use to remove the president, the Wolfe book was poised to be the new “dossier” scandal; a so called tell-all book that had nothing to tell but more lies designed to bring down the president. Trump’s move to remove Steve Bannon from the equation while making him the scapegoat for the hit piece both weakens the book’s potential for harm while at the same time creating a new leverage for Trump within the GOP. Wolfe’s book was clearly timed to be released after the recent GOP successes, as an attempt to strengthen the case against President Trump for the Democrats and Never Trumpers. Trump’s response is even more perfectly timed to turn that attack into a call to unity in his party, right on the heels of tax reform success and just as the midterm election cycle begins. Once again, my President has turned a democrat attack into an opportunity to take more effective control of the reins as leader.
Epilogue: What Became Of Brer Rabbit?
In the tale of Brer Rabbit, we all know that when the rabbit was finally “punished” by being thrown in the briar patch, he actually just scuttled away into his burrow safe and sound. If Bannon is to represent the rabbit in this tale, he too must now be safe and sound in his burrow. So how will playing the role of our beloved rabbit effect Bannon and what does it mean for Breitbart and the many Trump voters who respect and follow Steve Bannon?
Over the past several months, Bannon has been traveling and speaking at conservative events. He worked hard on the ground in the Moore campaign, a campaign lost to election fraud and the failure of local GOP leadership to get out their vote. Division between the regular party republicans and the conservative voters led to the inability of the Alabama Republican party to mobilize the vote in the face of democrat false allegations and constant scandal news. The Moore race made it clear that a different strategy to energizing party Republicans will be needed to win in 2018 against an utterly unscrupulous Democrat party. By placing blame for the race on Bannon, and distancing himself from Bannon, Trump energizes the party GOP, undermines the attacks against the administration, and controls the media narrative.
All the while freeing Bannon up to do what Bannon has always done before: write stories, share information, raise funds and make films. While it may on the surface appear that this Bannon/Trump “battle” is a death blow to Bannon’s future, a quick review of Bannon’s career before the campaign makes it obvious that Mr. Bannon’s skills might be much better utilized by making movies than making speeches. We will likely find that removing Bannon from the immediate spotlight by making him the scapegoat and pariah was not an angry response, but rather a well calculated algorithm by our president. I suspect the left will wish one day soon that they hadn’t thrown Brer Bannon into this briar patch.
As for Breitbart, a great deal remains to be seen on how the news site will handle this rocking of the boat. The site endured the loss of Bannon to the Trump campaign. It endured the return of Bannon while still connected to the Trump campaign, and I suspect it will just as gracefully endure the change in Bannon’s role going forward as he is removed from the spotlight. But it is hard to truly predict the fallout on this reknowned media source.
I can however predict two things: 1. We will be hearing more from this book by Michael Wolfe, and it will be proved to be filled with lies and 2. We have not seen the last of Steve Bannon and his efforts to help make America great again. President Trump is not a man who burns bridges, even if he does set them on fire.
Final Note: As of the publishing of this story, the media reports that a Trump lawyer has issued a cease and desist letter to Steve Bannon to “prevent” Bannon from making further alleged negative disclosures about the Trumps and the administration. A clever move by my president, as this both enhances the narrative of the “Bannon breakup”, while also giving Bannon a legal out to avoid any further commenting to a hounding media. Stay tuned to see how this story continues to unfold.