The time for playing nice in the sandbox seems to have passed for Steve Bannon – at least if you believe what’s written in the new Michael Wolff book Siege. That, in and of itself, is a tall order. Wolff is no Tolstoy; he feeds off telltale gossip that often makes for juicy headlines but turns out to be little more than written junk food.
The fetid smell of Wolff’s latest hit piece on the president has begun to permeate the airwaves and print media as they seek to give the book a promotional push under the guise of a review.
The left loves to use the word “explosive” when talking about almost anything pertaining to President Trump, and a Newsweek review of the book falls in line perfectly with this principle. America’s once-heralded news magazine predictably termed Bannon’s remarks about Mr. Trump as “explosive” and went on to cite Bannon’s assessment of his old boss “as a scumbag.”
Just how low does Mr. Bannon go in this game of political limbo? Very. Siege purportedly focuses on the president’s second year in office. British broadsheet The Guardian quotes an excerpt from Siege in which Bannon refutes Trump’s assertion that investigations into his financial dealings are nothing more than a witch hunt. “This is where it isn’t a witch hunt–even for the hardcore, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy, and one worth $50m instead of $10bn,” says Bannon, “not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag.”
Wolff reportedly digs into Mr. Trump’s past and avers, “Trump was vulnerable because for 40 years, he had run what increasingly seemed to resemble a semi-criminal enterprise.” The so-called journalist then asserts that Bannon chimed in with “I think we can drop the ‘semi’ part.”
This isn’t the first time Wolff has used Bannon to give Trump a verbal and very public beat down. Not one to put up with the folderol, the last time around the president took to Twitter to express his displeasure in no uncertain terms. “Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad,” Trump tweeted following the publication of Fire and Fury.
In fact, Bannon took issue with Fire and Fury and disputed some of the information Wolff attributed to him. Despite the verbal wrangling between the author and the former presidential adviser, Bannon apparently decided to return to the well.
Mr. Bannon, you may remember, was fired by the president in 2017. Reports at the time of his dismissal were that he leaked like the proverbial sieve to the news media while working in the White House as a chief strategist. Since then, Bannon has spent most of his time overseas as a champion of the national populist movements in France, Italy, Hungary, and Sweden – pretty much anywhere a populist uprising is brewing.
As a self-described economic nationalist, Bannon’s political leanings remain close to those of the president, but that is where the affinity between the two begins and ends. At the time of his sudden White House departure, Bannon had nothing but good things to say about the president. If Wolff’s book is to be believed (again this is a tall order), time has embittered Bannon’s assessment of the president and turned rancid into what looks and smells and awful lot like sour grapes.
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