Trump Jr goes NeverBannon

Is my headline an exaggeration? This tweet isn’t technically “Never”-Bannon, I suppose:

But this is pretty NeverBannon:

And given how palpably Anthony Scaramucci hates Bannon and how open he’s been about it, this is really NeverBannon:

And how about this one? NeverBannon enough for you?

Boy, that Trump/Bannon feud escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast. It’s likely to get worse before it gets better too given the new morsels from the Michael Wolff book that keep appearing in the press today. Here’s one that’ll make Bannon’s next phone call with the president extra fun:

In the book, Mr. Bannon is quoted as describing Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a White House adviser, as “dumb as a brick.” A spokeswoman for Ms. Trump didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Bannon declined to comment. A person close to him said Mr. Bannon didn’t deny his quotes in the book.

Yeah, that’s the thing. Bannon and Breitbart have been surprisingly passive about all of this today despite Wolff having a reputation for reporting that is, shall we say, too good to check. For instance, he claims elsewhere in the new book that Trump didn’t know who John Boehner is, which is certainly false. This is implausible too:

Nearly 15 years ago, the New Republic dinged Wolff by noting that “the scenes in his columns aren’t recreated so much as created.” Bannon could cite that, deny that he said any of the things Wolff attributes to him, cry “FAKE NEWS!”, and blame it all on a conspiracy to divide populists engineered by The Globalists or whoever the enemy of the week is. But he’s not doing that, even though he’s apparently getting killed in the comments at Breitbart and pro-Trump sites like Reddit for his “treason” attack on Don Jr and Jared Kushner.

How come? Either he knows that Wolff has him on tape or it’s the case that Bannon was simply too crucial to Wolff’s own reporting in the book for him to plausibly deny saying what he said. Michael Brendan Dougherty notes that the excerpt from the book that blew up online today is conspicuously flattering to Bannon, which wouldn’t be the first time Wolff has been complimentary of him in print. It may be that not only has Bannon been leaking to Wolff for months/years but that he’s a prime source for all sorts of details in the book. If he turns around now and calls Wolff a liar, Wolff might burn him by revealing all the anonymously sourced material that came from him or his allies.

And some of that material is stuff Bannon definitely wouldn’t want his fingerprints on. For example:

9. Trump asked Hope Hicks, the White House communications director who had dated former campaign manage Corey Lewandowski, why she was worried about Lewandowski’s bad press after he got fired. “You’ve already done enough for him,” Trump apparently said. “You’re the best piece of tail he’ll ever have”

10. Hicks and Trump had a very close relationship, and Trump’s inner circle saw her as something of a daughter to the president. “[Hope] Hicks was in fact thought of as Trump’s real daughter, while Ivanka was thought of as his real wife,” the book states.

Here’s another, although this sounds like it came from someone who knows Trump a lot longer than Bannon has:

According to the Daily Beast, Trump personally dictated key parts of the White House statement this morning tearing into Bannon, including the bit about him losing his mind. Quote: “Members of President Trump’s inner circle, including his immediate family, were instantly enraged on Wednesday after the Bannon excerpts dropped, and began hitting the phones to communicate to friends the imperative of ensuring Bannon is banished in Trump-world.” I don’t know what Bannon was thinking in chattering to Wolff the way he did; we’re all grasping for some strategic angle or carefully deliberated ploy in him making an enemy of Trump but that just doesn’t compute. The simple explanation is that Bannon succumbed to indiscipline by talking too loosely to a friendly reporter whom he thought would make him a hero in the retelling of Trump’s victory and he got carried away with the rhetorical score-settling. Now he’s frozen out of TrumpWorld (for the moment, as no one’s ever really frozen out for good), populists are pissed at him, and establishmentarians are dunking on him. If he’d had a win in Alabama with Roy Moore he could at least wave that around as proof of his political relevancy, but he doesn’t even have that. What was he thinking by attacking Trump’s family? What does he do now?