Krauthammer on Bannon at CPAC: He Showed He Was ‘the Brains of the Operation’

Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer reacted to the joint appearance of White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus earlier in the day at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Krauthammer told host Tucker Carlson the focus on reports of friction between the two was “trivial” and that Bannon’s first public appearance since inauguration was the real tell because he described Bannon as “the brains of the operation.”

“I think they’re going to bat down these stories in the media that there is a terrible conflict going on all the time,” Krauthammer said. “I think they felt that there is the first order of business, I think it’s somewhat trivial because it was a very substantive exchange and from Bannon who we’ve not heard of since the swearing in, it was extremely revealing. This is the brains of the operation. This is the guy who thinks strategically, and large categories, and he laid them out. I thought that was the most interesting part, and unfortunately, it got the least amount of coverage.”

Carlson asked Krauthammer to elaborate on that strategy, which Krauthammer broke down to three “overarching” ideas — international relations, trade, and the “administrative state.”

“His representation of Trump is that you can never get out of Reince or out of Trump,” he said. “He basically said there are three overarching ideas. One is the international arena. We are going to break that down, where essentially, you got this in the inaugural address, the world and our allies have been parasitic on us years with alliances and trade and multilateral trade, where done with that — America first. That’s number one. The second is what he calls economic nationalism — meaning trade and immigration. We are looking at America first regarding the economy. The third is the destruction of the administration administrative state.”

“Now, on the third one, I think you can get a consensus among all conservatives, and I think we’re all rooting that on,” Krauthammer continued. “And I think the first salvo in that war happened yesterday when the Trump administration reversed the bathroom bill that had been issued by the Obama in administration, which whatever your ideas about transgender sexuality, it is not the province of the federal government. It has nothing to do with the overblown leviathan state. It’s a way to say we’re going to smash all this and we’re going to eliminate this sort of excess. That’s Reaganism, that’s hardcore Reaganism, the regulatory rollback. On the other two, this is going against the tradition of the last 30 years. And he will run into trouble, especially on the second having to do with trade in Congress.

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