Politico’s Eliana Johnson and Annie Karni write that White House Chief Strategist and former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon has “largely disappeared” from White House policy debates, “doesn’t look well,” and that President Donald Trump is “back to giving Bannon the cold shoulder.”
In possibly related news, this story dropped less than 24 hours after Trump rejected the National Security Council (NSC) and Pentagon’s military plans for Afghanistan — and the same week that the AP blew up National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s opposition to Trump’s G20 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. McMaster is currently on “personal travel,” per a spokesman also cited in the Politico story.
Steve Bannon has largely disappeared from the White House’s most sensitive policy debates — a dramatic about-face for an operative once characterized as the most powerful man in Washington.
Bannon, chastened by internal rivalries and by President Donald Trump’s growing suspicion that he is looking out for his own interests, is in a self-imposed exile, having chosen to step back from Trump’s inner circle for the sake of self-preservation, according to several White House advisers who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering a colleague.
He was absent from Trump’s recent trips to Europe for the G-20 summit and from his visit with French president Emmanuel Macron. Bannon’s non-attendance is all the more noteworthy given his interest in European history and politics, particularly his antipathy to the European Union.
And while Trump’s rousing call in Warsaw for the defense of Western civilization echoed the populist ideology Bannon promoted as chief of the right-wing website Breitbart News, two senior White House aides said that Bannon had no hand in crafting Trump’s populist address. He did not participate in administration conference calls planning the remarks, they say, which were largely written by chief speechwriter Stephen Miller, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and NSC communications aide Michael Anton.
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