Back when Anthony Scaramucci was first introduced as the latest White House senior adviser, I predicted that he’d only last three weeks. I wasn’t being flippant; there were reasons behind it. But it turned out I was wrong. He only lasted eleven days. Now, for a set of entirely different yet somewhat parallel reasons, I’m now prepared to confidently predict that White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon will be fired within three weeks as well.
This latest prediction is not without its caveats. Steve Bannon has demonstrated an almost cockroach-like ability to continue surviving in the White House no matter how many people around him have been fired, and no matter how many times the rumors have placed him in imminent danger. But this time around it feels entirely different. Over the past ten days, three different National Security Council officials have been summarily fired one by one.
It’s unlikely that this was the mere result of a generic cleaning of house, as all three were closely allied with Bannon, which I’ve summarized link). And this doesn’t appear to be the result of new Chief of Staff John Kelly’s desire to weed out people he can’t control, as at least two of Bannon’s three allies were fired before Kelly became the Chief of Staff. Instead this looks to be an ongoing strategic effort by one or more individuals in the administration at making Steve Bannon vulnerable. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has been doing the dirty work, but based on today’s firing of prominent figure Ezra Cohen-Watnick, it’s nearly a given that Donald Trump himself is signing off on this hatchet work.
So if people within the administration have already convinced Trump of the need to get rid of all of Steve Bannon’s allies, then it’s likely that they’ve also convinced him – or will succeed in convincing him – of the need to get rid of Bannon himself. Who knows precisely why he’s being targeted. But Trump seems to be in a mindset right now where he’s willing to get rid of people he likes, because he’s figured out he’s drowning, and he has no loyalty to anyone when push comes to shove. So based on the current pattern, I’m setting the countdown clock for Steve Bannon’s exit at three weeks.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report