Feb 15, 2017

Steve Bannon privately unloaded on Breitbart reporter

Win McNamee /Pool Photo / AP

Shortly after Breitbart's Matt Boyle published an extensive attack on White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, Boyle's former boss Steve Bannon exploded.

Far from Bannon orchestrating the leaks — as some have speculated — Trump's chief strategist was furious. And he let Boyle know about his displeasure with the story being published. Bannon got Boyle on the phone and gave the Washington editor "both barrels," according to a source familiar with the conversation.

Boyle's piece created nothing but trouble for Bannon. The chief strategist is trying to change the media narrative that he and Priebus are at war. All Boyle's piece did was stoke further speculation about anonymous sources behind this paragraph:

"Specifically, multiple sources close to President Trump with internal knowledge of White House operations told Breitbart News on Monday night that the buck stops with Priebus when it comes to the botched rollout of the executive order temporarily banning most travel to the United States from seven nations with a history of exporting terrorism and temporarily halting the refugee program. This news comes of course in the wake of the news that Flynn was pushed out, but also as more and more reports of a likely shake-up at the top loom.

What you need to know about Breitbart's attack on Priebus:

  • Boyle is reflecting a growing anger on the nationalist right at Priebus. But it's not just limited to the nationalist right. Priebus has made other enemies within the circles close to Trump.
  • The President is getting plenty of advice — both solicited and unsolicited — to drop Priebus.
  • Bannon is acutely aware that Breitbart is still viewed as his proxy. The idea that he'd arrange a hit piece against Priebus through his old publication doesn't pass the laugh test.
  • It's also telling that Bannon went on the record to The Atlantic's Rosie Gray telling her that Boyle's story was "absurd."

There are a lot of people on the nationalist right out to get Priebus, as Gray smartly narrates in her piece. They include Trump's old stomping partner Roger Stone, who tweeted this morning an image of Priebus with the caption "LEAKER." It's also true that Trump himself has sounded people out about the performance of his chief.

Boyle did not respond to a request for comment.

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