Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been receiving criticism from all sides. Now, President Donald Trump’s former Chief Strategist has joined the fray.
In an interview with The Economist, Steve Bannon targeted Mitch McConnell, saying that he is going to “light him up.” This is part of Bannon’s mission to apply more pressure on those in the GOP who do not support Trump’s agenda.
Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon says he’s planning to ramp up pressure on political opponents while continuing to advocate for the president. “In the White House, I had influence,” Bannon said. “At Breitbart, I had power.”
It appears that Bannon intends to use the power provided by Breitbart to advocate for the populist policies he espoused even before becoming Trump’s campaign manager. Breitbart News is one of the most popular online news sites with hundreds of millions of views every month. Simply put, Breitbart has the attention of a significant number of conservatives.
McConnell’s popularity has waned in the past few months as many conservatives believe him to be ineffective. His failure to repeal and replace Obamacare is one of the reasons why so many have lost faith in the Majority Leader.
Many do not approve of his refusal to change the filibuster rule, which would allow GOP lawmakers to break through the Democrats’ efforts at obstruction when passing important legislation.
President Trump has also criticized the Senate Majority Leader. Along with Bannon, he has been frustrated by McConnell’s refusal to fully implement the White House’s agenda. Not only has he been unable to address healthcare, he is also not making progress on tax reform.
While Bannon certainly isn’t a fan of McConnell, he also has his sights set on others in the GOP. “Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons,” He said. It is clear that he intends to go after the members of the establishment GOP that do not put sufficient effort into moving towards a more populist direction.
This is one area where the president and Bannon differ. While he was responsible for shaping the more populist elements of Trump’s policy agenda, the president seems to have changed direction.
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Bannon acknowledged this in August, “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon stated. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over.”
Before his firing, Bannon’s influence in the White House was in a serious decline. The president began to favor the advice of his generals and others in his administration over Bannon’s. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, had numerous altercations with the former Chief Strategist. These were all signs that Bannon was on his way out.
While he is no longer in the White House, Stephen Bannon still has a way to influence American politics through Breitbart News. While he has stated that he will never turn on the president, he has also said that he would not allow Trump to make decisions that hurt him. It is unclear what this means, but with Bannon back at the helm of Breitbart, there is no doubt that we will soon find out.