Should We Believe Steve Bannon? — And Other Questions To Wonder After The Publishing Of ‘Fire & Fury’
By Teddy Paige
Some quick-fire thoughts, questions, and answers on the biggest story of the week; the release of Michael Wolff’s Fire & Fury book, which gives an inside look into the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency:
- Should we believe Steve Bannon? The head of Breitbart takes a lot of shots at both Trump and his family — how much of this is true, and how much of his word should we actually believe?
Yeah, I mean, why the fuck not, right? What does Bannon have to gain by spreading this misinformation? While some bits may be exaggerated, it seems safe to assume most (if not all) of what Bannon goes on the record about is true.
I mean, a lot of these rumors/statements we’re hearing from Bannon, and no one else. Sure, the New York Times and the Washington Post and even the Michael Wolff book quote numerous sources, but it all seems to come back to Bannon. If you believe the Head of Breitbart and former campaign manager for Trump is trying to destroy Trump from the inside, then sure, you can come up with a conspiracy theory that this is all bullshit. Maybe Bannon was always just riding Trump’s coattails, waiting for the moment to strike, then leapfrog over him and take his power. Like Jafar in the Disney movie ‘Aladdin,’ only with worse facial hair.
It seems more likely that Bannon is the only one in Trump’s orbit who doesn’t stand to lose anything by bashing the guy (or so he seems to think). Don Jr is never gonna tell the truth. Kushner is never going to tell the truth. Bannon seems the only one in there capable of telling it how it is.
Short answer: I’m sure some bits are exaggerated, but for the most part, I believe Bannon.
2) So if you believe him… is any of what we’re reading in this book a major surprise?
Nah, it all makes sense, and that’s why it’s easy to believe Bannon. Reports that Trump watches too much TV, that he didn’t think he would win the election, that Melania was in tears on election night, that Ivanka and Jared have political ambitions of their own… all of that makes sense. We’ve heard a lot of that before, actually. Sure, the book seems to take it up a new level (it’s the first time from my recollection we have an official on-the-record statement about Melania and Donald not sharing the same bedroom)… but every idea, every statement, every story told in this book that the MSM is trotting out as some BIG REVEAL… all of it makes sense, all of it adds up, and that’s why all of it is so believable.
It’s like (SPOILER ALERT) the ending of AMC’s Breaking Bad; Walt spent the entire season in flash-forwards getting parts for some massive machine gun; so watching him use a massive machine gun in the finale, while visually entertaining, wasn’t exactly a shocker. That’s what this is; we hadn’t seen the machine gun in action yet, but we’d seen plenty of parts, so anyone paying attention shouldn’t be too surprised.
3) Palace Intrigue is all well and good, but will this move the meter? Does this change the way voters vote?
In the Trump vs Bannon game with voters, you have to imagine the ‘Deplorable Base’ is gonna stick with The Donald. Even Breitbart has been kind in its coverage of the story (and rumors are already swirling that Bannon may be forced out there), and the idea that Bannon was going to somehow take the torch from Trump and push this agenda into the future always seemed silly.
However, it’s worth noting that the closest example we have of Trump and Bannon going Head to Head was in the Alabama primary, when the Bannon candidate Roy Moore defeated the Trump candidate Luther Strange. Alabama may end up being the outlier, and again, it’s hard to imagine voters choosing Bannon’s message over Trump; however there is evidence to suggest that when we’re fully in campaign mode, Bannon may have a few more moves up his sleeve than Trump.
We’ll have a better feel for that during the Republican primaries for 2018; Bannon already has a number of candidates lined up to go toe-to-toe with Mitch McConnell’s mainstream guys. If Bannon can primary a few McConnell Incumbents, it may stand as proof that Trump’s control over his base isn’t as iron-fisted as many believe.