It looks like all is not well in the White House. Over this past week, there have been multiple reports of infighting between President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Chief Political Strategist Stephen Bannon. The conflict has escalated to face-to-face confrontations and backbiting between the two aides and is apparently intense enough for President Trump to intervene. Fox News reports:
President Trump last week had ordered Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to “work this out,” amid mounting media reports detailing infighting between Bannon and Kushner, who also is a senior presidential adviser. The clashes had become a distraction from the White House focus on Syria and the Senate vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
It seems that much of the aggression might be coming from Bannon, who is known for his fiery personality. He has complained to others in the White House about his row with Kushner. Bannon stated that he could not work with Kushner because Kushner “is a Democrat.” Townhall Magazine notes:
The recent development of Bannon being removed from the National Security Council only brings more intrigue to this civil war regarding Bannon and Kushner. The New York Times reported that Bannon simply could not compromise with Kushner on anything because the latter is a member of the Democratic Party.
The clash between Kushner and Bannon is the result of sharp political disagreements. Bannon is a populist who espouses a nationalist ideology while Kushner has adopted more moderate political views. Bannon has even referred to Kushner as a Democrat — which isn’t too far from the truth given the fact Kushner has consistently donated to the campaigns of Democratic politicians.
This feud is putting Bannon on shaky ground. Many believe that if President Trump has to choose between the two, he is going to pick family. The president has already removed Bannon from the National Security Council and stripped his security clearance. The Chief Strategist is becoming more isolated. Mike Allen of Axios states:
Steve Bannon, the engine and soul of President Trump’s hard-edged approach to his first months in office, is increasingly isolated and will be forced out unless he can adopt a more cooperative approach, a top source told me.
On both style and substance, Bannon got crosswise with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who are pushing for a more competence- and results-driven focus for the West Wing.
In their view, Bannon is too inclined to want to burn things down and blow things up. They want a more open process driven by the interests of the president, not ideology.
If Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are pushing for a more results-driven focus, this could also spell trouble for Bannon. The two major initiatives that Bannon championed have failed. The travel ban remains locked in court, and Congress rejected Trumpcare. Bannon also opposed the recent military strike in Syria — a position that put him at odds with Kushner and the president. The Daily Caller states:
Bannon, who argued attacking the Syrian regime wasn’t in keeping with an “America First” foreign policy, was reportedly bested in the debate by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor.
Kushner and Bannon recently met to settle their differences. At Trump’s behest, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus held the meeting between the two aides to help them mediate a truce. For now, it seems that Kushner and Bannon have resolved their issues with one another. Before this recent conflict, Bannon and Kushner had no apparent problems. Fox News notes:
A senior administration staffer told Fox News that, overall, Bannon and Kushner get along, and described their differences as more philosophical than personal. Bannon and Kushner often walk into each other’s West Wing offices to talk on issues.
The unrest in the White House seems to have settled — for now. Since Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon have profound philosophical differences, new conflicts could arise. In the end, it will be the president’s job to decide who remains in his inner circle. If Kushner and Bannon are not able to reconcile their differences, one of them will have to go. The question is: who will Trump choose?