After seven months as President Trump's chief strategist, Stephen Bannon is out of the administration. Vox looks at what Bannon's departure means for the White House and debunks the idea that Bannon was "Trump's brain." Long story short: Bannon was one of the few Trump aides that actually cared about "policy details and lower-level appointments," but his departure changes little besides that. Bannon had been losing influence ever since the travel ban debacle, and his embrace of outright nationalism will likely continue in the White House without him. Here's what else you need to know:
- Politico reports that with the loss of Bannon, the White House may have lost one of its biggest leakers—or at least that's what Bannon's enemies in the administration suspect.
- A former Breitbart editor used pop culture to explain what's next for Bannon. "Bannon understands that in the game of thrones, you win or die; he doesn’t intend to die. Now that he’s been beheaded by Trump, look for him to try to become the Night King, leaving destruction in his wake," Mediaite quotes Ben Shapiro as saying.
- Axios reports that destruction could take the form of war on remaining members of the Trump administration, including Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and HR McMaster. Sources say Bannon is teaming up with the billionaire Mercer family to go "thermonuclear" on "globalists."
- Breitbart itself seems to be expecting a Bannon vs. White House battle with the headline quote, "Get ready for Bannon the barbarian."
- Meanwhile, Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post warns Americans not to believe it when the White House inevitably claims getting rid of Bannon represents a pivot toward a more presidential future for Trump.
- The New Republic concurs: "The problem with the Trump administration is not that there was a white nationalist whispering in Trump’s ear; the problem was that there is a white nationalist whispering inside Trump’s own brain."
- At the Daily Caller, Roger Stone writes that while he personally likes Bannon, losing him is no reason for conservatives to fret, as Bannon was too interested in self-preservation and self-aggrandizement to be effective in the White House.
- Ineffective or no, Chris Cillizza at CNN says Bannon has already won because "his worldview and mindset have been adopted almost in toto by the one person whose opinion matters in this White House: Donald John Trump."
- Which explains House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's statement, as quoted by the Hill: "Bannon's firing is welcome news, but it doesn't disguise where President Trump himself stands on white supremacists and the bigoted beliefs they advance."
- Finally, David Von Drehle at the Washington Post writes Bannon did serve one vital function in the White House: inflating Trump's sense of himself "as a world-historical force, the revolutionary leader of a 'new political order.'" Von Drehle says Trump is now going to pine for Bannon's flattery "like a junkie pines for smack."
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