Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon, after departing from the Trump administration, has asserted that President Donald Trump is unlikely to fulfill his core campaign promises. Bannon predicted that a so-called GOP establishment would moderate the president's most populist policy proposals.
On Aug. 18, Bannon left his role as Trump's chief strategist. In an exit-interview, he predicted the Trump White House would become a more conventional administration without his involvement.
"The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over," Bannon told The Weekly Standard on Aug. 18. "We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It'll be something else. And there'll be all kinds of fights, and there'll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over."
In August 2016, Bannon joined the Trump campaign as a chief executive. The former CEO of the controversial Breitbart News website, Bannon drew accusations from Democrats and some Republicans of allegedly advocating for racist and religiously bigoted views. Bannon himself asserted that Trump's agenda mirrored his own political philosophy, according to TIME.
"I kind of break it up into three verticals of three buckets," Bannon said during the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 23. "The first is kind of national security and sovereignty ... The second line of work is what I refer to as economic nationalism ... The third, broadly, line of work is what is deconstruction of the administrative state."
Following Bannon's departure from the Trump administration, the former chief strategist asserted that his particular vision for the Trump presidency had ended.
"Now, it's gonna be Trump," Bannon continued in his interview with The Weekly Standard. "The path forward on things like economic nationalism and immigration, and his ability to kind of move freely ... I just think his ability to get anything done -- particularly the bigger things, like the wall, the bigger, broader things that we fought for, it's just gonna be that much harder."
Bannon asserted the congressional Republicans had steered Trump away from his political agenda.
"The Republican establishment has no interest in Trump's success on this," Bannon said. "They're not populists, they're not nationalists, they had no interest in his program. Zero ... I think they're going to try to moderate him."
Bannon stated that he would return to heading Breitbart News and asserted that he had always planned to leave his Trump advisory role after a year.
"Now I'm free," Bannon concluded. "I've got my hands back on my weapons ... I am definitely going to crush the opposition."
Several White House aides and Trump associates have pushed back on Bannon's version of events. In late July, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly told Bannon that he would be fired if he did not voluntarily resign, according to The New York Times.
On Aug. 7, Bannon told Trump and Kelly that he would step down on Aug. 14. The former chief strategist reportedly asked that his exit be delayed following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville out of concern for optics. Bannon was reportedly let go after he gave a frank interview with The American Prospect on Aug. 15 that Kelly believed undercut the president.
On Aug. 21, national correspondent Josh Green of Bloomberg Businessweek predicted that Bannon would use his Breitbart platform to place pressure on congressional Republicans and the White House staffers that he had allegedly clashed with. Green had written a book about Bannon's relationship with Trump titled "Devil's Bargain."
"I expect Breitbart and Bannon will go 'buck wild' (to borrow a Bannonism) in their criticism of establishment figures on Capitol Hill and the White House, whether it's [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell or [National Economic Council Director] Gary Cohn," Green told CNN.