(c) 2017 by Paul DuginskiUsed only with express written permission
In the White House West Wing, very close to the Crackpot in Chief, there is a man with the title of “chief strategist” who is, if that’s possible, a bigger villain than Donald Trump. This villain is like a comic book character who is so perversely vile in order to make it 100% clear who the bad guy is. We’re talking bad here, not nuanced in shades of gray like some flawed character. This villain is Stephen K. Bannon, whom the KKK absolutely loves because of his time at Breitbart News. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Bannon was “the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill.”
Breitbart embraced the white supremacist alt-right under Bannon.
Now we have this racist anti-Semite at the president’s side, and I think we’re already seeing his mark on the Trump presidency.
After a weekend dominated by news of Trump’s mean-spirited and cruel immigration order, tonight as I write this we have coverage of the Monday Night Massacre. It’s reminiscent of the infamous Saturday Night Massacre of Oct. 20, 1973, when President Nixon dismissed Watergate independent prosecutor Archibald Cox, leading to the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus.
Tonight, Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for questioning the legality of Trump’s refugee ban.
Not only does the travel ban have Bannon’s fingerprints on it, Trump has alarmed many in Washington by naming Bannon to the principals committee of the National Security Council. Trump also limited the attendance on the panel of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence. So we have a political strategist but no military or intelligence advice. Susan Rice, the former Obama national security advisor, called this “Stone-cold crazy.”
Bannon has been quoted as saying his goal is to “bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
Bannon shares Trump’s inclination to be disruptive and his hatred of the news media. He also shares Trump’s bumbling lack of experience running a government, even though Trump trumpets his business management acumen.
The press has reported this sort of bumbling because it’s doing its job. Which led Bannon to pop off about the media: “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,” he told the New York Times. “I want you to quote this: The media here is the opposition party….You’re the opposition party. Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”
Of course, the press has an adversarial role in our democracy, but it is not the opposition. It pursues the truth without fear or favor, shines lights on ugly things that live under rocks – like peddlers of racist, anti-Semitic, white-supremacist alt-right crap. The press only seems like the opposition if you’re a creature of darkness. I for one am grateful to be fully informed about a right-wing extremist wing nut who brags openly that he is bent on bringing “everything crashing down.”