President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner are locked in a West-Wing power struggle—and far-right, nationalist, passionately pro-Trump media are lining up behind the man who made them relevant in the West Wing.
This week, multiple outlets reported on the ongoing infighting within the Trump White House between Kushner and Bannon, who represent two diametrically opposed factions of the president’s political inner circle. Kushner has been trying to carefully push Bannon from his seat of power and influence, and Bannon views Kushner as a virtually-lefty shill and obstacle.
It’s been an “open secret” that Bannon and Kushner often clash “face-to-face,” according to multiple senior Trump administration officials speaking to The Daily Beast on Thursday morning. Bannon has privately vented about Kushner being a “globalist” and a “cuck,” an administration official said. Kushner has recently and successfully expanded his reach and responsibilities in the White House, while Bannon has, for instance, found himself officially booted from the National Security Council on Wednesday.
Bannon’s fate in Trump’s administration is, of course, unknown for now, with one camp saying he’s nearing his way out the door, and another faction saying he’s digging in for a fight and staying in The Donald’s good graces. Important allies who Bannon has on the outside are some heavy-hitters in influential, Trump-venerating right-wing media.
“Jared Kushner, perhaps the one presidential aide who cannot be fired, is now in regular text message communications with [MSNBC host] Joe Scarborough,” Roger Stone, a former longtime political adviser to Trump, claimed on Alex Jones’s popular Infowars show on Tuesday, the day before all this news broke.
The Daily Beast reached out to Stone for clarification on the claim, but did not hear back.
Jones is one of America’s leading conspiracy theorists, and hosted Trump on his show during the campaign. Jones also claims to still be in touch with the president as an informal adviser of sorts.
“Many of the anti-Steve Bannon stories that you see, the themes that you see on [MSNBC’s] Morning Joe, are being dictated by Kushner,” Stone alleged. “And while Mr. Kushner’s plate is very full with Middle Eastern peace and the China visit, and so on, in this case I think he is disserving the president.”
Influential conservative radio host Mark Levin did not appear pleased this week with the current state of the power struggle being fought in the Trump administration. Levin warned on Twitter Wednesday night: “Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn, Dina Powell: the three big-government liberals tightening their hold on the White House.”
“Bannon out. Nunes out. Flynn out. Sessions recused. We won WH & both houses! Imagine if we lost. GOP would be picking up Dems dry cleaning,” prominent Trump booster and columnist Ann Coulter tweeted on Thursday. Coulter subsequently told The Daily Beast in an email: “I have no idea what’s going on in the White House (and am disinclined to believe news reports on internal clashes), but it’s never a good day for the president when the public is reminded that he hired his SON IN LAW, no matter how talented jared is.
“Bobby Kennedy was pretty impressive, too, and even the press removed its nose from JFK’s butt long enough to denounce him for hiring his brother,” Coulter continued.
Breitbart, which Bannon used to run and still serves as one of Trump’s staunchest enforcers and allies, shouldn’t be expected to sit on the sidelines, either, as negative stories about its staff’s former boss trickle out.
This week alone, the hard-right website has published several negative posts about Kushner, including a report on Wednesday that leads with pointing out that “Jared Kushner… boasts a thin resume in diplomacy.”
This is a different perspective from the one Breitbart took in, say, mid-February when it was running headlines like, “HAS JARED KUSHNER BECOME A STEVE BANNON GROUPIE?”
Breitbart has also demonstrated a recently developed habit for targeting alleged “traitors” and leakers working in Trump’s White House. President Trump’s son-in-law is increasingly looking like the website’s next object of ire.
“It’s not like we need [Bannon’s] blessing to go after Jared or other globalist-types,” a Breitbart staffer told The Daily Beast, on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely. “You can expect to see more.”