Soon after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced that he is retiring from the Senate on Tuesday, a source (or sources) close to former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon told reporters that Bannon got “another scalp.”
Flake announced his retirement a week after Bannon and Laura Ingraham campaigned in Arizona for conservative Senate candidate Kelli Ward. Polls have indicated that Flake would have likely lost in his own primary had he chosen to run for reelection.
In Alabama, Bannon backed conservative grassroots candidate Judge Roy Moore, who thrashed D.C. establishment Senator Luther Strange (R-AL) in the Yellowhammer State’s GOP Senate runoff. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), seeing the writing on the wall, announced his retirement just before Strange’s shellacking.
At the Arizona rally last week, Bannon mocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), telling him that his people are going home, in reference to McConnell’s comment about how losers go home and winners make policy.
“Note to self, Mitch: Big Luther Strange and Little Bobby Corker are both going home,” Bannon said to the raucous Arizona crowd last week. “The people of Alabama and the people of Tennessee have spoken. Your folks are going home, and their folks are making policy.”
The “source closed to Bannon” reached out to reporters like Tara Palmeri, Kristen Welker, Eliza Collins, and Kaitlan Collins. Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg reportedly told the Washington Post‘s Bob Costa that Bannon now already has “three scalps” this year.
“Another day, another scalp” — source close to Bannon on Sen Flake’s decision not to seek reelection.
— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) October 24, 2017
A source close to Steve Bannon says Bannon's reaction to @JeffFlake: "Another day, another scalp." Bannon supports Kelli Ward to take seat.
— Kristen Welker (@kwelkernbc) October 24, 2017
Steve Bannon reacts to announcement of Flake retirement, per source close to Bannon:
"Another day, another scalp"
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) October 24, 2017
Bannon-world is pleased. An ally of his says he's added "another scalp to his collection as another establishment domino falls."
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 24, 2017
Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg calls Post as he watches Flake: "Bannon has three scalps. Luther Strange, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake."
— Robert Costa (@costareports) October 24, 2017
Bannon ally on Flake news: "Bannon added another scalp to his election and other Never Trump incumbents should be very nervous right now.”
— Eliza Collins (@elizacollins1) October 24, 2017
GOP donor Dan Eberhart, who has been critical of McConnell’s failures in the Senate, tweeted, “#Bannon spooks [Flake].” Ned Ryun dubbed it “the Steve Bannon effect.”
— Dan K. Eberhart (@DanEberhart) October 24, 2017
Jeff Flake is out. . . Call it the Steve Bannon effect. #maga
— Ned Ryun (@nedryun) October 24, 2017
One Trump supporter on Twitter observed that “Team Bannon is two up” in forcing retirements.
Team Bannon is two up. When Corker and Flake decided to go against the ppl's choice their days were numbered and they knew it. Wise up @gop.
— Julie Cappiello (@julie_cappiello) October 24, 2017
When asked if he had anything to say to the “Bannon wing of the party,” Flake had “nothing at all” to say.
"What do you say to those in the Bannon wing of the party who are claiming victory today?"
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 24, 2017
Establishment schemer Bill Kristol, though, was not happy. Pobrecita!
It's too-clever-by-half to say Flake's exit may be for the best.
Flake took on Trump.
Trump & Bannon took on Flake.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 24, 2017