Friday President Trump fired chief strategist Steve Bannon “Apprentice-Stlye.” The firing was swift, brief and unceremonial:
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”
The rumpled Bannon and President Trump made an unlikely team during Trump’s presidential campaign. They also delivered unlikely victories over Republican-establishment candidates like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, and eventually shocked the world by dispatching Hillary Clinton for the presidency. Bannon, the populist firebrand, helped hone Trump’s populist message that appealed to working class white Americans, small business owners and those who wanted a change from the crony capitalism exhibited by the Obama administration. However, the main question was, “Will Trump follow through on his populist message?”
After Trump former Goldman Sachs bankers Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn to key roles in the administration, some began to question whether the president would follow through on the populist message that he and Bannon had carefully crafted during the campaign. That said, through the first eight months President Trump’s tenure has been nothing short of a disaster. He has gotten bogged down attempting to appeal Obamacare, simply because he felt it needed to be replaced. His failure to do so has hurt his credibility, caused people to question his judgment, and taken time away from more important matters. In firing Bannon, Trump has continued to confuse the public and burnish his image as a fly by the pants CEO.
What Cost Bannon His Job?
Bannon is a former navy seal and Goldman banker himself. Prior to joining Trump he ran the wildly popular breitbart.com, which is credited for developing the alt-right. However, within Trump’s organization there can be only one boss. Bannon’s big personality and penchant for hogging the spotlight might have put him on the outs with Trump.
Precisely why he left remains a mystery. But there seem to be two likely reasons. The first possibility is that he committed the same crime as Mr Scaramucci: hogging headlines. Early in his presidency Mr Trump was said to be incensed at the raft of stories and images depicting Mr Bannon as the power behind the throne. Mr Bannon assumed a lower profile. He managed to survive the palace coup that ousted Messrs Spicer, Priebus and Scaramucci. Recently, however, he gave a bizarre interview to a lefty outlet, the American Prospect, in which he called the far-right “clowns”, urged Democrats to keep harping on about “race and identity” and mused over whom he was trying to oust and which colleagues he disliked. Perhaps most damagingly, he said in the interview that “there’s no military solution” to North Korea. (James Mattis, the defence secretary, rebutted the remarks about North Korea.) Mr Trump was also reportedly incensed at the credit his strategist received for winning the election in a recent book by Joshua Green.
Stories depicting Bannon as the power behind the throne were not Bannon’s fault. I always felt such stories were an attempt by Trump’s opponents to needle Trump and get under his skin. One way to undermine an opponent is not to criticize him, but shower one of his underlings with incessant flattery, and praise. In portraying Bannon and the “real president,” pundits and haters were bound to get under Trump’s skin. Apparently it worked.
I always pictured Bannon as Trump’s “number two” – they came off that way during the campaign. Bannon carried acerbic, off the cuff comments into the White House. However, if Bannon’s “There’s no military solution” comment on North Korea was not approved by Trump beforehand, he was practically begging to be fired by Trump. The fact that Bannon had few friends within the administration was not surprising. The only people truly safe within the administration are Trump’s children and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Success on The Apprentice could have meant doing great work to impress the boss or teaming up to take down a rival. If a family member wanted Bannon’s number two spot then it was only a matter of time before he was gone anyway.
Trump – Where From Here?
Bannon will likely return to breitbart.com and needle, cajole and attempt to embarrass the democrats at every turn. He can be just as effective outside Trump’s organization than he can in it. It might work better if he is unhinged and unapologetic within breitbart than having to diminish himself and constantly look over his shoulder under Trump. For Trump, he will likely remain unpredictable and over the top. However, his image as a maverick has evaporated. Cohn, Mnuchin, education secretary Betsy Devos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have proven nothing more than corporate beaurocrats. Their policies have been orchestrated to protect Wall Street, fill the coffers of corporations and/or attempted to harm African Americans.
The kids, Mnuchin and Cohn can say they ran the country for a brief period. Acting unpredictable is not leadership or populist. Trump’s populist agenda is likely pase’ with Bannon gone. The president is highly-entertaining, yet has only proven effective at creating drama and firing people. If he does not create deliver the jobs he promised to his base then Trump will likely be next to go.
On Shock Exchange
Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead explains the stock market and U.S. economy through the eyes of the New York Shock Exchange, a financial literacy program Ralph Baker started in 2006 to share his passion for investing and basketball with his 11-year-old son and other boys his age. The book predicts the “pain ahead” for the U.S. economy, the demise of China, the pending stock market crash and social unrest.
Shock Exchange has been trumpeted by President Obama, the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee. However, they conveniently forgot to cite the source. Critics try to make and unmake authors, but the market always decides. The book was also recently added to Trump Syllabus K12, crafted by Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead of Loyola University Maryland. Shock Exchange is the best book on Wall Street in the past 20 years, and on economics, it may be the most important book since the Great Depression.