Steve Bannon asserts his dominance within the White House
Steve Bannon, the Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to President Donald Trump, has wasted no time in taking charge within the new presidential administration.
Bannon, the former CEO of Breitbart News, a far-right media outlet that has frequently been accused of promoting white nationalist ideals, was incredibly influential in Trump’s campaign, helping to direct the team to victory in the crucial final months of the campaign. Now, he is helping the Trump administration take shape.
The most recent information as of this writing indicates that Bannon has been given a seat at the highly confidential National Security Council, while demoting the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to invite-only roles. But this is just the latest instance of Bannon holding major sway within the Trump White House.
Despite initial reports that suggested Trump himself wrote his inaugural address, the Wall Street Journal reported that the speech was in fact written by Bannon and senior advisor Stephen Miller. The speech included hallmarks of Bannon’s controversial rhetoric, including the historically dubious phrase “America first,” which was previously used as an anti-Semitic slogan by the World War II isolationist campaign run by Charles Lindbergh.
In the administration’s first week, Bannon and Miller have also penned the majority of Trump’s executive orders, including the ban on Muslim refugees and an order to restart construction on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Bannon also took aim at the media this past week, referring to them as the “opposition party” of Trump’s administration.
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,” Bannon said during a rare interview with several outlets on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
“I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”
Bannon’s own nationalist vision has become integral to the Trump administration, fueling the descriptions of “American carnage” from the inauguration speech and motivating the series of executive actions Trump enacted to implement policies on trade agreements, immigration and the building of a border wall. Bannon was reportedly key in the decision for Sean Spicer, the new press secretary, to give a confrontational and emotional statement to the White House press corps, in which the White House disputed news reports about the size of the inauguration crowd.
Bannon, who has taken to referring to himself as “Darth Vader,” finished his interview on Wednesday with a repetition of his earlier claim: “You’re the opposition party,” he said. “Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”