Chief of staff John Kelly may have said "It's me or him" – but the world is a slightly better place now that the noxious Bannon has been shown the White House door
It is true. Steve Bannon is toast. That’s the latest from Washington, as the roller-coaster wave of changes at The White House just keeps on rolling – and tumbling.
The American people – or lots of them at least – may be fit to throw up at the reckless funfair-on-acid trajectory of it all. But the truth is that the world is probably a tiny bit less dangerous as a result of this latest change.
Without a doubt, Steve Bannon was one of the key architects of Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the US Presidential election. He gave a veneer of ideological grist to Trump’s own deeply prejudiced America First views. And he also connected Trump to the worst of the right wing fringe that made all the difference when the votes were counted.
He is trenchantly right-wing. He is an ultra ‘nationalist’. And he is schooled in the dark arts of the internet, and its use and abuse. He made the connections which enabled the targeting of voters susceptible to propaganda of one kind or another. Donald Trump owed him.
And as a result he handed him the role of Chief Strategist.
But Steve Bannon is more than any old right-winger. As the main man at Breibart News, he had presided over the publication of some of the more unpleasant expressions of the modern brand of right wing poison. It would not be hard to mount a case that Bannon was at least complicit in the return of white supremacism and anti-Semitism. And that his website fuelled the rise of Nazi sentiments among a rump of disaffected white males.
All of that was a backdrop to the events that unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia, which saw what may well have been the pre-meditated murderous killing of the anti-fascist protestor, Heather Heyer.
Whether Bannon was involved in pressurising Donald Trump to blame the anti-Fascist protestors as well as the white supremacists is not clear. This Trump did, before rowing back – and then shocking his advisers and aides by repeating the slur – to a chorus of disapproval from huge sections of US society.
The working assumption is that it was all too much for hate recently appointed Chief of Staff, John Kelly – and that the firing of Bannon is a mark of his taking charge of the most chaotic White House administration in history.
There will no doubt be more on this. But for now, the world can breathe a small sigh of relief. One of the darkest figures to grace the inner circle of a President in many years has been dispatched. All we need now is for the President to follow him out the door. Oh, and taking his deputy, Mike Pence, with him.
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