Donald Trump is now launching a public all-out assault on Steve Bannon, his former campaign CEO and former White House Chief Strategist. Trump is outraged that Bannon is accusing him and his son of a “treasonous” plot with Russia. He’s threatening to sue Bannon. He’s attacking Bannon’s physical appearance. He’s also insisting that Bannon played little or no role in his campaign or administration – but that last part is a problem for him.
Here’s what Trump has tweeted about Bannon over the past twenty-four hours: “I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!” He added “The Mercer Family recently dumped the leaker known as Sloppy Steve Bannon. Smart!” Trump also released a statement claiming that Bannon’s involvement was minimal, and that he played no real role in Trump’s success. So let’s take a look at what Trump used to tweet about Bannon.
Back on August 19th, the day that Trump forced Bannon out of the White House for still-fuzzy reasons, Trump tweeted this: “I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton – it was great! Thanks S.” That wasn’t enough, so he kept going later in the day: “Steve Bannon will be a tough and smart new voice at Breitbart News…maybe even better than ever before. Fake News needs the competition!”
It’s not simply that Donald Trump is changing his tune about Steve Bannon and contradicting himself. At the time, it seemed Trump was overcompensating by lavishing Bannon with praise even while firing him, for fear that Bannon might retaliate. In hindsight, the earlier tweets suggest that Trump was indeed afraid that Bannon would rat him out for treason, which is precisely what’s now happened.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report