President Donald Trump hasn’t been in office but 11 days, and for many Americans that’s 11 days too long. Friday he issued his strongest edict, banning all refugees from Syria and placing a temporary block on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
His next move was to fire the acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who refused to support his executive order. Tuesday, he replaced Daniel Bagsdale, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who was too slow to adopt the new outlook.
As he was removing these bureaucrats, he was installing Stephen Bannon, his guru and chief strategist, on the U.S. National Security Council and thereby making him a key player on critical domestic and foreign policy issues.
If George W. Bush had his Karl Rove, Trump has Bannon to help him orchestrate plans that at the moment have caused nationwide protests and alarmed top elected officials, including many on the right. Bannon, an architect of alt-right and former head of the Breitbart news site, will have the president’s right ear while Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has the other.
Bannon was given a seat at the NSC table, and that makes him an equal—if not superior—to Lt. General Mike Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“This is stone crazy,” said Susan Rice, who was President Obama’s national security adviser. “Who needs military advice or intel to make policy on ISIL, Syria, Afghanistan or North Korea?”
A recent New York Times editorial said it as well as anyone on the problems with having Bannon anywhere near the red button. “In giving Mr. Bannon an official role in national security policymaking, Mr. Trump has not simply broken with tradition, but has embraced the risk of politicizing national security, or giving the impression of doing so.”
So who’s the puppet and who’s the puppet master? With Trump and Bannon, the parts are interchangeable because they have both exhibited racist, misogynistic and Islamaphobic tendencies, and these ideas are consistent with their worldviews and are now becoming more dangerously manifest by the day.
More than one news report has cited Bannon as abusing his wife, being anti-Semitic and being an absolute ideologue in concert with the Ku Klux Klan. The media, he charged the other day, is the “opposition party” and should “keep its mouth shut and listen for a while.”
Well, Mr. Bannon many of Americans apparently are listening to what you and Trump are saying and are responding with their feet and placards, from coast to coast.
Moreover, Bannon, if we take a look at the mounting outcry against the Trump policies, we see what is wrong. And people do understand that Trump’s the president—and that’s the problem.