Editorial, Featured

Donald + Steve: The Bromance is Over

January 5, 2018

By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO

Photo by Drew Angerer /Getty Images

Sometimes it’s better to have loved and to have lost, than never to have loved at all. That may best define the now-dead relationship that led one man to deliver another to the presidency.

Less than two years ago, candidate Donald Trump met and fell for a younger man that seemed the perfect fit; famous, politically connected, and ambitious. The much older candidate didn’t seem to mind the other’s frumpy attire, blood-shot eyes, and unshaven appearance. Looks, for once, didn’t seem to matter to Donald Trump.

What the younger Steve Bannon brought to the relationship was a huge following among anti-government, anti-Washington nationalists that constituted the core of Trump’s growing political base. When mainstream Republicans shunned the upstart candidate, Bannon embraced the caustic campaign style of the ultimate outsider with a then-slim chance of an upset victory.

As the campaign careened toward their party’s convention, Trump made their relationship official and introduced Bannon as his betrothed; his campaign strategist.

After they went public with their relationship, the two began to grow more similar in their views. Trump promised to drain the Washington swamp, and warned of a sinister “deep state” within our government. The two men now mirrored each other’s politics, and seemed on the verge of taking over leadership of our country.

On November 7th, Donald Trump did the unthinkable and won the election for President. By his side was his first bro, smiling slyly as he watched the product of his coaching claim the White House, knowing that he could now bring his brand of disruptive politics to the seat of world power.

Immediately, signs of a new style of governance became apparent. By the time of the President-Elect’s first press conference, a contentious attitude toward the press, toward government institutions, and against certain segments of our society had emerged. Minorities, foreigners and foreign governments, and even some Republicans were now cast as enemies of the state; the Trump+Bannon state.

Just weeks after Trump’s inauguration, Time Magazine called Bannon “The Great Manipulator”, and Bannon himself played up his outsized influence on the President, saying it was his political maneuvering that won the election.

As the new President took office, his first act was an anti-immigrant executive order promising to build a border wall and deport undocumented immigrants. A Muslin ban soon followed, as well as orders to roll back international trade agreements and environmental accords. All straight out of Bannon’s playbook.

Trump began espousing more radical nationalist positions, and, much like Bannon, failed to repudiate white supremacists that sparked racial riots last summer. Instead, Trump referred to the protesters as very fine people on both sides, giving political cover to neo-Nazis that held torches and shouted anti-Semitic chants.

After a few months of pulling the strings behind the screens, Bannon began to run into other people close to the new President that held influence over Trump, but advocated contrary view to Bannon’s.

Trump’s liberal daughter and her Richie Rich husband tried to draw the President more toward the middle where they knew most Americans really stand. The tried to soften the President’ aggressive style that worked well in a campaign, but didn’t seem well suited for the leader of the free world.

Soon, media outlets began reporting on the infighting within the White House, often including cutting comments about Ivanka and Jared, and Generals close to Trump. No one knew who was leaking, but it seemed like the leaks only damaged Bannon’s internal opponents.

By mid-year, cracks began surfacing between the bros. Trump never likes to be upstaged by anyone, especially not someone that works for him. As Bannon continued his assault on those close to the President, he also began criticizing Trump himself.

Where Bannon finally went wrong was when he began making comments contrary to Trump, especially his tough talk against North Korea, saying there is no viable military option, a direct contradiction to POTUS’s threats to attack. Bannon lost the confidence of one important new figure in the White House that had just begun to assert control over the chaos; new Chief of Staff John Kelly. Kelly, a former Army General, never liked Bannon and now had a reason to cut him down.

In August, Trump fired Bannon. It was announced Bannon was leaving the White House to return to his Breitbart News, an alt-right website that peddles conspiracy theories and anti-government stories online. When his departure was announced, traders on the New York Stock Exchange cheered and both the S&P and DOW jumped in value, but Republicans figured he would continue supporting Trump from the outside.

Although Bannon confessed his undying supporting for Trump and his political agenda, the past few months have proven otherwise.

During a special election in Alabama to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate left by Jeff Session’s appointment as Attorney General, Bannon campaigned for a far-right kook named Roy Moore, while Trump endorsed a more moderate Republican in Luther Strange. Moore beat Strange to face Democrat Doug Jones.

In the run off, with no where else to go, Trump was convinced by Bannon to support Roy Moore, who ended up being accused of molesting young girls and dating teenagers when he was a District Attorney. Moore lost to Jones, the first Democrat to win in Alabama in 27 years.

Embarrassed by another loss, Trump privately blamed Bannon for having dragged him into a losing race in support of a womanizer. But there would be more bad news to come.

This week, a newly released book about Trump quotes hundreds of sources saying very uncomplimentary things about the White House, but the most stinging comments are attributed to Bannon.

Bannon said the special counsel is going to crack Donald Trump Jr., like an egg, and said Jr.’s meeting with Russians last year was treasonous and unpatriotic. Bannon doesn’t dispute the comments.

It only took one day for Trump to respond, and it was scorched Earth.

Trump said Bannon not only lost his job at the White House, but also “lost his mind”. He said Bannon didn’t have much to do with the campaign, and blamed him for Moore’s loss.

Trump said Bannon is “only in it for himself.” On Twitter, Trump said Bannon was an “opportunist” that turned his chance to work in the White House into “a nightmare of backstabbing, harassing, leaking, lying, and undermining the President.”

The Machiavellian Prince that had worked so hard to deliver his Patron to the White House is now a nobody that Trump discarded like Manafort, Flynn, and even the Mooch before him. All are expendable to Trump. He’s transactional. He’s vindictive. And he gets over breakups quickly.

With Bannon gone, we’ll see who the next contestant will be on the new episode of The Real Bachelor Apprentice of D.C. Stay tuned.

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