The TAKE with Rick Klein
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Steve Bannon can lose his job. He can, as President Donald Trump asserts he already has, lose his mind. He can surely lose his pull as a recruiter of candidates. But Trump can’t lose Bannon. And Bannon can’t lose Trump.
Trumpism and Bannonism are already linked inextricably, by virtue of Trump’s election to the presidency, and some of the high and low points of his first year in office.
The president forges alliances that are often temporary, but they shape his direction in permanent ways. (As for leaving the Trump orbit – how long before president dials up Bannon again, just to chat?)
The president would have every right to be upset about the insinuations about his son-in-law’s lack of political acumen, or the suggestion that his son committed “treason” in meeting with Russians. Trump may have been most bothered by the depiction of him, in Michael Wolff’s new book, as less than bright.
One big legacy Bannon leaves the president after this public break? He is helping legitimize an investigation that the White House, the congressional Republican hierarchy, and conservative media outlets – Bannon’s Breitbart included – have been doing their best to tear down.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
It was not news that the president likes McDonald’s fast food or that various top strategists aggressively fought for power and influence in the early days of the administration.
We knew top Trump campaign staffers were surprised by the 2016 election results and the transition was frenetic and haphazard at times.
Still, the personal anecdotes and intimate details offered in Michael Wolff’s new book paint a damning, pejorative portrait of this president and his team. They color in an unflattering outline that in many ways already existed from numerous rumors and other stories over the past year.
Maybe that’s why the White House felt the need to engage so swiftly and resolutely. Accusations of an utterly dysfunctional West Wing, chaos that was easily taken advantage of, the family’s political naiveté, and a neurotic commander in chief (or, worse, an unintelligent one) were just too much to handle. Especially considering this time they seemed to be coming from insider sources like Steve Bannon, Roger Ailes and former White House staff, who are much harder to dismiss.