Steve Bannon’s influence over Donald Trump’s White House, which initially seemed almost limitless, has since plummeted. Trump removed Bannon from the National Security Council last month, and has repeatedly been kicking him out of meetings. At this point his exit from the White House wouldn’t be shocking. And according to respected MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid, a plan for his exit is now in motion.
Over the weekend, reports leaked out that Jim DeMint is in the process of being ousted from conservative think tank Heritage Foundation. Reid is now reporting that, according to her Republican Party source, billionaire Rebekah Mercer – a longtime friend and backer of Steve Bannon – is seeking to install Bannon as the Heritage Foundation’s new president (link). But this doesn’t appear to be a complete divorce between Trump and Bannon.
Reid says that the Trump White House is angry at the Heritage Foundation for helping to kill off its AHCA health care bill a month ago (link). Thus, installing Bannon at Heritage would serve to replace a Trump enemy with a Trump ally while also giving “Bannon a soft landing to get him out of the White House.” Obviously, Bannon is prepared to make the move, or Mercer wouldn’t be trying to orchestrate it. But it’s not a done deal.
As Reid points out, “there’s already a line of succession at Heritage, and moving Bannon in would disrupt it” (link). So installing Steve Bannon wouldn’t be a simple task. But considering how influential the Mercers and their billions are in conservative circles, it probably comes down to how badly Rebekah Mercer wants to make it happen. Joy-Ann Reid’s MSNBC show airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to noon, and she’s recently published a book of Barack Obama’s speeches (link).
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report