Ten days ago, I confidently predicted that Donald Trump’s White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon would be ousted within three weeks (link). I based this on the escalating senior staff chaos in general, and the fact that some of Bannon’s top loyalists had just been quietly ousted in particular. Even I worried that I was being overconfident. But now concrete new evidence says that Bannon’s demise is indeed playing out in that manner.
At the time I made the prediction, it was clear that powerful forces within the White House were swiftly moving to weaken Steve Bannon and make him vulnerable; it just wasn’t yet clear who those forces were. Who decided to suddenly oust all three of Bannon’s allies from the National Security Council? Was it National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster? Was it new Chief of Staff John Kelly? Was it Donald Trump himself? In hindsight it may have been all three of them, because now Trump himself is making it publicly known that he wants Bannon gone.
Yesterday we got an article from Politico which reported that General Kelly is questioning what it is that Steve Bannon even does in the White House, and why he has a job there (link). Last night we got Trump mouthpiece Roger Stone tweeting personal attacks on Bannon, which suggests that Trump urged him to attack Bannon. Today we got an article from Axios which reported that Trump now thinks Bannon is a leaker and therefore wants him gone (link). You see where this is going, and how swiftly it’s going there.
Trump has been allowing General Kelly to fire all his favorite wacky play-toys of late, including Anthony Scaramucci and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, so there’s little reason to expect that Trump would block Kelly from firing Bannon. In fact, for whatever reason, Trump seems to be in on it. When Scaramucci was first hired, I predicted his fiery approach would flame out within three weeks; he ended up lasting eleven days. We’ll see if Bannon is also a goner within the three week window I’ve laid out. We’re nearly halfway there, but he’s now more than halfway gone.
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