Yesterday Steve Bannon offered an apology for comments he reportedly made about a meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower last year. Bannon’s apology was very specifically focused on making clear that he thought highly of Donald Trump Jr. The first line read, “Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man.” CNN’s Chris Cillizza called it “groveling” and NRO’s Rich Lowry said Bannon was “groveling and begging for forgiveness.” But word from a White House spokesman today suggests President Trump doesn’t think it wasn’t enough. From the Hill:
Spokesman Hogan Gidley said President Trump’s stands by his belief that Bannon has “lost it” and is “only in it for himself.”
“I don’t believe there is any way back for Mr. Bannon at this point,” Gidley told reporters on Air Force One who asked about the former chief strategist. “I just don’t think there’s any way back.”…
“When you go after somebody’s family in the manner in which he did — two of the president’s children are serving this nation, sacrificing in their service — it is repugnant, it is grotesque and I challenge anybody to go and talk about somebody’s family and see if that person doesn’t come back and comes back hard,” said Gidley.
That’s obviously bad news for Bannon [full disclosure, my former boss] who is reportedly in danger of losing his job after the Mercer family cut him off last week. Based on some of the hints coming from people who might be in a position to get inside information (like Matt Drudge), it seemed possible there could be a resignation announcement today. No doubt this statement from the White House won’t help whatever behind the scenes efforts Bannon is making to avoid that outcome. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that before he was an insider, Bannon was a Trump opponent. CNN is reporting today that back in 2015 Bannon shopped a report about Trump’s connections to the mob:
A conservative watchdog group led by Bannon tried to discredit Trump in the early stages of the 2016 Republican presidential primary by shopping a document alleging that Trump had ties to mobsters, according to conservative sources and a copy of the document reviewed by CNN.
The anti-Trump opposition research was the work of author Peter Schweizer for the Government Accountability Institute, which he cofounded with Bannon in 2012. It described years of alleged business connections between Trump companies and organized crime figures, allegations that have circulated among Trump detractors for years…
A GOP operative provided CNN a copy of the anti-Trump document. Two sources confirmed that GAI shopped copies of the document to donors for Trump rivals during the GOP primary.
I have no idea if he’ll survive at Breitbart but, as the story above shows, he has the ability to change direction on fairly short notice. Former enemies can become allies again, especially if it looks like we’re headed for a Democratic wave election later this year. Trump might feel differently six months, though that may depend on how much more damage the Wolff book does before the media horde moves on to its next obsession.