Apr 8, 2017

Trump plans centrist push and Priebus is on board

Kevin Hagen / AP

Steve Bannon, the engine and soul of President Trump's hard-edged approach to his first months in office, is increasingly isolated and will be forced out unless he can adopt a more cooperative approach, a top source told me.

On both style and substance, Bannon got crosswise with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who are pushing for a more competence- and results-driven focus for the West Wing.

In their view, Bannon is too inclined to want to burn things down and blow things up. They want a more open process driven by the interests of the president, not ideology.

A senior official said Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is "with the program" of a more inclusive style, and will stay. Insiders have been feverishly discussing possible replacements and Trump considered a change, but the official said: "Reince is staying."

The latest from the "Game of Thrones," on location in Mar-a-Lago this weekend:

  • The changing culture: Here are the two crucial words to understand the outgoing style and incoming style: We're told that rather than "nationalist" vs. "globalist," think of "combat" vs. "collaboration."
  • How the Bannon bubble burst: The last straw for his internal critics: news stories portraying Bannon as the keeper of the Trump flame, in opposition to Jared, Ivanka and economic adviser Gary Cohn — all New Yorkers.
  • Playing defense: Bannon's allies both inside and outside the White House are scrambling to try to save his job, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports. They argue that getting rid of Bannon will cost Trump among his "America First" constituency, and that Trump's key to victory is to keep his base motivated.
  • What's next: This weekend, Bannon, Kushner and Priebus are having discussions about whether the marriage can be saved: "Either Steve becomes a team player and gets along with people, or he'll be gone."

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