If you’ve been following American politics over the past year, then you’re no doubt familiar with the name Steve Bannon.
Bannon, a former executive chair at Breitbart News, emerged seemingly from nowhere to become a shadowy fixture during the 2016 campaign and the early months of Donald Trump’s presidency, exerting a tremendous amount of influence from behind the scenes.
In the media, the-investment-banker-turned-political-Svengali has been portrayed as the Emperor Palpatine to Trump’s Darth Vader, ant it’s not uncommon to hear him referred to as President Bannon.
It’s been said that Trump owes his meteoric rise more to Bannon than to any other individual.
(There are those who argue that Vladimir Putin deserves that dubious honor, but that’s a conversation for another time.)
However, a change in the Trump-Bannon dynamic took place around the time the current administration began to suffer its first public setbacks (the blocking of the controversial Muslim ban, the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn amidst allegations of collusion with Russia, etc.).
Reports from the White House indicate that Trump blamed his staff for the failures, at one point openly lashing out at Bannon, and abruptly canceling plans to have Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus join him at Mar-a-Lago for the weekend.
Now, the divide between Trump and Bannon appears to have deepened, as several media outlets are reporting today that Bannon has been ousted from the National Security Council, per Trump’s request.
Bannon’s appointment to the council – reportedly the result of an executive order that Trump signed without reading in full – was a controversial and unprecedented move by the White House.
Not only does Bannon have no experience in national security, his appointment was accompanied by the removal of key members, which resulted in the political neophyte carrying more clout than some of our nation’s top-ranking military brass.
It’s not entirely clear why Trump made his decision today, but NBC News is reporting that Bannon’s role within the council was to monitor Gen. Flynn (possibly due to Flynn’s ties with Russia).
With Flynn gone, his replacement, General H.R. McMaster, and other high-ranking members of the counsel were reportedly able to convince Trump that Bannon’s presence was no longer needed.
We’ll have further details on this developing story as more information becomes available.