Steve Bannon's exit from the National Security Council this week has led to a slew of headlines about a rift in the White House between him and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. One main theme in coverage suggests that Kushner's moderate views are beginning to triumph over Bannon's more ideological ones. Here's a look:
- The Daily Beast reports that Bannon has been telling people that Kushner is a "cuck" and a "globablist." A "cuck," for the uninitiated, is a popular insult on the alt-right. It's short for cuckservative, a combination of cuckold and conservative, and is a nasty slam for someone deemed conservative-lite. Bannon also considers himself a nationalist, in favor of closed borders, so both terms are high crimes in his view.
- This escalating feud could mean the departure of both Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus, reports Axios. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is being floated for chief of staff, it adds.
- Why is Preibus in trouble? The Atlantic's guide to this "battle for the soul of the Trump White House" has this from a source: “For whatever reason Bannon seems to be allied with Reince, and Bannon seems to be opposed by Jared." In the analysis, Bannon says rumors that he's threatened to quit are "absurd."
- The Washington Post has a deep dive into the turmoil, casting it as the "Bannonites" versus "centrist financiers" led by Kushner and National Economic Council chief Gary Cohn, a registered Democrat (and a name also floated by Axios as a potential chief of staff). One insider sums up the main complaint against Bannon thusly: He "isn’t making 'Dad' look good.”
- The New York Times has a similar theme, adding that Trump himself seems genuinely torn between the two factions, "tilting one way or the other depending on the day." Each side is trying to stick close to the president's side, while waging proxy wars in the media.
- One telling quote in the Times piece: A source says that during one Bannon-Kushner argument, Bannon declared: “Here’s the reason there’s no middle ground. You’re a Democrat.”
- A post at NPR observes that Trump has long surrounded himself with competing factions and seems to thrive on it. But it also questions whether the "chaos theory of Trump," while effective in the business world, can succeed under the unique challenges of the presidency.