Steve Bannon is out:
Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election but clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers, is leaving his post, a White House spokeswoman announced Friday.
The Washington Post tellus in no uncertain terms that he was fired:
John F. Kelly, the retired four-star Marine Corps general brought in late last month as White House chief of staff, has been contemplating dramatic changes to West Wing staffing that included firing Bannon....
The decision to fire Bannon was made by Kelly, officials said....
“This was without question one man’s decision: Kelly. One hundred percent,” one senior White House official said. “It’s been building for a while.” ...
Kelly has no personal animus toward Bannon, said people familiar with his thinking, but was especially frustrated with Bannon’s tendency to try to influence policy and personal matters not in his portfolio, as well as a negative media campaign he and his allies waged against national security adviser H.R. McMaster.
The president, meanwhile, had been upset about Bannon’s participation in a book by a Bloomberg News reporter Joshua Green, “Devil’s Bargain” — particularly the shared photo billing on the cover between Trump and his chief strategist.
But The New York Times accepts the possibility that Bannon quit:
Earlier on Friday, the president had told senior aides that he had decided to remove Mr. Bannon, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion. But a person close to Mr. Bannon insisted that the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week. But the move was delayed after the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.
Politico can't seem to settle on a story:
A senior administration official said Bannon had resigned on Aug. 7, but other officials noted that Trump had grown tired of his tactics and behavior and had been plotting ways to oust him.
... even after Bannon had submitted his resignation earlier this month, he still called rampant rumors about his departure “bulls---,” and his allies tried to build support for him. Like other departures in the West Wing, including that of chief of staff Reince Priebus and press secretary Sean Spicer, there are conflicting stories about whether Bannon resigned or was ousted.
The resignation story is just desperate Bannon spin. A few days ago he had a different strategy for dealing with his imminent departure: He did a bad a karaoke version of Anthony Scaramucci's demise, calling up a liberal journalist (in his case, Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect) and holding forth at length, after which he and/or his allies informed Jonathan Swan of Axios that he hadn't realized he was giving an on-the-record interview. Adrian Carrasquillo of BuzzFeed overthought this, describing it as Bannon's "Trump survival plan":
Allies who spend too long in Donald Trump's doghouse usually get sent away for good. Chief strategist Steve Bannon is trying to forestall that fate....
Bannon has now made the calculus that he’s on thin ice regardless, and won't go down quietly, [a] supporter said. "He's saying, 'I’m going to force you to fire me in a public way or we’re going to follow the agenda we were elected for.'"
Now, of course, Bannon is saying he'd already quit by then, but whatever. I think he wanted it to seem as his imminent firing was brought about by the interview -- specifically, that he wouldn't have been fired if the sinister liberal media hadn't published statement he never wanted to be made public.
Bannon just wants us to believe anything except the truth: that his actions displeased the president and other important White House figures, and that he was canned as a result.
The odd thing is that Bannon is one of the few White House tough-guy wannabes who actually served in the military. So why didn't he ever learn how to shut up and take discipline? Man up, Steve.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog