President Donald Trump’s White House is reportedly divided between chief strategist Steve Bannon’s faction and Jared Kushner’s faction, according to New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet.
Speaking at the Code conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, Baquet reportedly said that “there are two or three factions fighting for an ear of a President who probably didn’t have fully formed views before he took office” and that it is true that there is a “Bannon ‘faction’ and a Jared Kushner ‘faction,’” according to a Business Insider account.
“We’re watching a Washington story unlike any other. I think we’re seeing a drama, a fight in the White House and a government investigation that’s unprecedented,” Baquet reportedly added.
Many news outlets in recent months have discussed the battle between the so-called “globalists” or “West Wing Democrats” like Kushner, economic adviser Gary Cohn, and Dina Powell and the America-first nationalists associated with Bannon. NBC News pointed out that the “West Wing Democrats” want to implement more liberal policies while Bannon, who has a whiteboard in his office with all of Trump’s campaign promises written on it, and his team want Trump to keep those promises.
NBC News’s First Read team mentioned in April that the “West Wing Democrats” and Republican establishment bureaucrats (a.k.a. swamp creatures) often want Bannon to be the fall guy. First Read asked, “After all, what unites the New York GOP and Paul Ryan crowds?”
New York Times reporters Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, and Sharon LaFraniere recently reported that the relationship between Trump and Kushner “had already begun to fray” he was named a “person of interest” in the FBI’s Russia investigation “because of his repeated attempts to oust” Bannon, who will reportedly head the “war room” to defend Trump’s White House House and combat the FBI’s Russia probe. The Times noted that Kushner did himself no favors when he reportedly convinced Trump that firing FBI Director James Comey would be a political “win.”
The Times, in its May 28 report, described Bannon as a “onetime Kushner ally turned adversary” and noted that Bannon is known for working himself “into ill health” defending Trump and fighting for Trump’s campaign promises.
“Mr. Kushner’s war with Mr. Bannon has been a damaging distraction,” the Times reported. “Several upper-level staff members said Mr. Kushner has made it plain to them that they needed to choose sides or be iced out from an increasingly influential team that includes Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, and a handful of other Kushner-allied power brokers like Dina Powell, a national security official.”
The Times also reported that Bannon has “privately cautioned Mr. Trump against being ‘captured’ by liberal, New York ‘globalists’ associated with his son-in-law, according to three people close to the president.”
During his May 14 Meet The Press appearance, Axios’s Jim VandeHei said, “we know Jared Kushner wants Steve Bannon out.” The next day on MSNBC, the Washington Post’s Ashley Parker said that the “globalists,” “Democrats,” and “New Yorkers” like Kushner, Powell and Cohn were gaining more influence as “Trump whisperers” in the White House.
But according to the May 28 Times report, Trump “has had enough” of Kushner’s scheming and “recently chided Mr. Kushner for continuing to call for Mr. Bannon’s ouster, saying he would not fire his conservative populist adviser — who has deep connections with Mr. Trump’s white, working-class base — simply because Mr. Kushner wanted him out.”
On Monday, Jonathan Swan, Axios’s well-sourced White House reporter, said on MSNBC that Bannon was again ascending. Axios’s Mike Allen pointed out that “even Bannon and Jared Kushner, who have been in open warfare for months, were working together to fashion the crisis-response apparatus.”
When Trump removed Bannon from the National Security Council in April, the Times reported that there is a huge risk for Trump “in appearing to minimize Mr. Bannon,” whom the Times described as a “hero” to nationalist working-class voters opposed to illegal immigration that drove Trump to his Electoral College victory that shocked the world.
In PBS’s Bannon’s War documentary that aired last week, New York Times reporter Peter Baker said that “nobody else speaks to [Trump’s] base as powerfully as Steve Bannon does.”
“And that’s not something Jared Kushner can do,” Baker continued. “That’s not something Ivanka Trump can do.”