There’s a turf war between Steve Bannon’s group and cabinet officialsby Iwan Morgan / February 7, 2017 / Leave a comment
Battles between White House staff and cabinet secretaries are commonplace in the modern era. The president’s aides see themselves as the agents of his wishes and often clash with the heads of cabinet departments, who want to protect their own turf. The Trump administration is no different—except that the struggle for influence has broken out in its first days, before Senate confirmation of some cabinet nominees has taken place.
A trio of top aides has emerged as the ideological bomb-throwers of the new White House. Trump lacks a philosophical core in the manner of recent Republican predecessors such as Ronald Reagan and George W Bush. This makes him open to the ideas of others—in this case, Steve Bannon, formerly CEO of Trump’s election campaign and now his chief strategist; senior adviser Stephen Miller; and Rick Dearborn, executive director of the Trump transition team and now White House deputy chief of staff.
Bannon, in particular, has Trump’s ear because of his role in the campaign. His conviction that the election victory was part of a global revolt by nationalists against cosmopolitan political establishments plays well with the new president. Trump also appears to have bought into Bannon’s conviction, enunciated in a 2014 speech to an international conservative conference held at the Vatican, that the 21st century would see a struggle for supremacy between the Judeo-Christian west and Islamic fascism.
His two allies are like-minded and all three did much to shape the tenor of Trump’s “America First” inaugural address. Bannon’s influence also landed De…