Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Ala.) — who finished third in last week’s Senate vote between establishment favorite Sen. Luther Strange (R., Ala.) and conservative firebrand and former state Supreme Court justice Roy Moore — said Steve Bannon’s West Wing departure and President Trump’s endorsement of Sen. Strange is a sign that the establishment swamp has seized control of the White House.
“Have I made a decision? No, I have not,” Brooks told the Washington Post regarding who he would back in Alabama for a Sept. 26 primary runoff. “But it looks like the establishment and Washington swamp have taken control of the White House with Bannon’s departure and with Luther Strange.”
In the wake of former chief strategist Steve Bannon’s departure from the White House, political turbulence between establishment Republicans and economic nationalists will only intensify according to the Washington Post.
Upon resigning as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist — and returning to serve as Breitbart News executive chairman — Bannon told the Post that “no administration in history has been so divided among itself about the direction about where it should go.”
In his time in the West Wing, Bannon had reportedly helped persuade President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords and make Israel the first stop on his first trip abroad — both wins for the conservative base, in which Bannon, as Trump campaign CEO, helped galvanize to boost the billionaire to victory over Hillary Clinton.
But Bannon warned that there’s a deep divide within the White House that’s similar to the political split throughout the country.
“The tensions in the White House are slightly different than the tensions in the country. It’s still a divided country. Fifty percent of the people did not support President Trump. Most of those people do not support his policies in any way, shape or form,” he told the Post.
To be sure, at least according to one Republican said to be close to the White House, Bannon’s exit has raised spirits of Trump’s staffers because there’s less “tension” in the West Wing.
“I think it raises the morale of staffers and brings more of a sense of normalcy to the White House on a day-to-day basis,” a Republican strategist told the outlet. “You don’t have such an unorthodox staffer breathing down people’s necks and creating tension every day.”
“What it does not do is remove the person who’s creating the most drama in the White House, and that’s Donald Trump,” the strategist continued. “He’s going to continue to do what he’s going to do.”
What’s more, Bannon’s White House departure comes a month before Congress returns to face a full legislative slate that doesn’t necessarily prioritize President Trump’s desire to sign a tax reform bill, a border wall funding plan, and a healthcare act that guts Obamacare.
While Trump needs both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R., Wis.) support to pass the aforementioned parts of his agenda, the president has grown sour on both men in recent weeks.
Trump ripped McConnell earlier this month for failing to pass an Obamacare repeal.
“Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2017
Meanwhile, getting back to work is what Bannon says he intends to do.
“If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,” Bannon told Bloomberg News on Friday.
A day later, President Trump thanked Bannon for his service and endorsed his former strategist in giving “fake news” some much needed “compassion.”
“I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton – it was great! Thanks S,” Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday. He later tweeted: “Steve Bannon will be a tough and smart new voice at @BreitbartNews…maybe even better than ever before. Fake News needs the competition!”
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson