Jan 9, 2018

How Bannon lost his political power

Steve Bannon. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Steve Bannon built himself into a powerful political force over the last year and a half — from the head of Breitbart to the chief executive of Trump’s presidential campaign to his chief White House strategist. Now he's lost all of his political power in a matter of 72 hours.

Why it matters: Bannon was an influential figure in elevating Trump’s America First and Make America Great Again messages. He built a loyal and large following of conservatives via Breitbart, but particularly by selling this unique brand of Trumpism — and now that has all been stripped from him.

What they're saying, a former White House ally of Bannon’s told Jonathan Swan: “I’ve gone from being sympathetic to Steve to believing he’s a genuinely bad guy, totally duplicitous. It’s a shame. He has a lot of talent. But his self-destructive streak is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

Here's how Bannon fell from political power:

August: Left the White House.

  • He framed it as a positive step forward: "I feel jacked up," he said. "Now I'm free. I've got my hands back on my weapons."
  • Trump immediately said Bannon didn’t deserve credit for his presidential win. "That f*cking Steve Bannon taking credit for my election," Trump said, per BuzzFeed.
  • He outlasted national security adviser Michael Flynn, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and press secretary Sean Spicer

September: Bannon vowed to intervene in GOP primaries. (politico)

  • He planned to invest in a slate of GOP primary challengers, ultimately hoping to unseat some sitting Republican senators.

December: Roy Moore loses Alabama Senate race.

  • Moore lost a race that a Democrat hasn't won in decades, showing, in part, the start of Bannon’s lack of political power.

Jan. 3: “Fire and Fury” quotes & scathing WH statement released.

  • Among other incendiary quotes, Bannon called Don Jr.'s Trump Tower meeting "treasonous."
  • "Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency," Trump said in a statement issued by the White House. "Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn't as easy as I make it look."

Jan. 4: Trump threatens Michael Wolff.

  • He sent a lawyer's letter that "demands that you immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the Book."

Jan. 4: Rebekah Mercer picks Trump over Bannon, pulls funding.

  • In addition to Trump, she was one of his biggest supporters.
  • “That could be the final nail in his coffin,” said Rep. Peter King, who for months has criticized Bannon as detrimental to the GOP. “And once that coffin’s closed, it shouldn’t be opened.”

Jan. 4: Republicans pick Trump over Bannon.

  • Kelli Ward, who was endorsed by Bannon and is running to replace Jeff Flake, downplayed her ties to Bannon after the "Fire and Fury" drama.
  • Mitch McConnell said he aligns himself with Trump over Bannon.

Jan. 7: Bannon tries to apologize.

  • In an exclusive statement to Axiosbut doesn’t actually say the words "I'm sorry."
  • "I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president's historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency."
  • "My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda."

Jan. 9: Bannon out at Breitbart.

Don't forget: Bannon was behind some of Trump’s most controversial moments and policies —

  1. He brought Paula Jones and other women who accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct to a presidential debate as a way to try to mitigate the effects of the Access Hollywood tape on Trump’s presidential prospects.
  2. He forced the quick implementation of the travel ban in the first week of Trump’s presidency which quickly resulted in lawsuits, mass protests and controversy.
  3. Just one month into Trump’s presidency, Bannon said the goal of Trump’s administration would be "the deconstruction of the administrative state."

What to watch: How, if at all, Bannon tries to intervene in GOP primaries this year.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 1,203,923 — Total deaths: 64,795 — Total recoveries: 247,273Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 312,237 — Total deaths: 8,502 — Total recoveries: 14,997Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1.2 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The number of novel coronavirus cases surpassed 1.2 million worldwide Saturday night, as Spain overtook Italy as the country with the most infections outside the U.S.

The big picture: About half the planet's population is now on lockdown and the global death toll was nearing 64,800, by Sunday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,500

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 8,500 in the U.S. early Sunday, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day for the past four days, since April 1.

The big picture: President Trump said Saturday America's is facing its "toughest" time "between this week and next week." Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said U.S. deaths are expected to continue to rise during this period.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health