Staffed as it is with some of the most renowned journalists of our time, you would think Breitbart would know better.
You would think that anybody working in media or journalism with an ounce of common sense would avoid putting in writing their plan to unleash a torrent of negative coverage aimed specifically, and perhaps not coincidentally, at ousting two-thirds of the most prominent “globalist” (read: Jewish) members of Trump’s inner circle. (The third, economic advisor Gary Cohn, was referred to by Bannon and his acolytes as “Globalist Gary.”)
You would think that they would avoid making the kinds of proclamations typically reserved for a Bond villain monologue (sample quote from Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow: that he’d see what he could do to “have [Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump] out by the end of the year”). And, given the state of constant paranoia in which Breitbart resides, you would think they would be highly suspicious of an email from “[email protected],” particularly considering their boss’ name is Stephen.
As if the domain “USA.com” wasn’t suspicious enough, did Marlow believe that “Stephen.Bannon” was already taken? And if he did, was Marlow really under the impression that people will voluntarily change the spelling of their name to secure an email address? Does Alex Marlow understand the internet?
I’m sure I speak for millions of Americans when I say I’m shocked — shocked! — that Breitbart, a veritable repository of intellectual minds, would fall for such a trick. And yet, here we are.
This calamitous chain of poor decision-making aside, the emails themselves told us quite a bit about how Bannon views certain members of the Trump administration. And, to an extent, the emails offer insight into how Bannon views Trump.
According to The Daily Mail, in the emails, “Marlow also stunningly seemed to reference a conversation with the real Bannon, mentioning ‘your description of them as evil’ in reference to Kushner and Ivanka […].” This confirms what had long been one of the more poorly-kept secrets in Washington: Steve Bannon despises Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
(As an aside, as much as I find the fawning press coverage of Kushner and Trump — the so-called “liberal” faction of the Trump administration — to be both inaccurate and intolerable, I can’t help but feel something vaguely resembling pity for them. Not only are they widely despised by the left, but they apparently haven’t made any friends on the right, either. They’re just stuck in the middle, smiling uncomfortably and trying to get through the next three-plus years without being indicted for something.)
Though it was widely accepted that there was no love lost between Bannon, Kushner, and Ivanka, there was at least the appearance of civility. The emails paint another picture entirely. Not only that, but they also potentially speak to the low intellectual regard in which Bannon — along with the rest of us — holds Donald Trump. As these emails indicate, Marlow (who, again, believed he was speaking to the real Steve Bannon) is prepared to launch a public smear campaign against the First Daughter and her husband, with the intended purpose of constructing such a negative narrative around them that the President will have no choice but to fire them.
This contradicts the commonly-accepted truth that Donald Trump is dedicated to his daughter. (Well, one of them, anyway.) Therefore, Bannon must believe at least one of the following: either Trump isn’t the family man we’ve been told he is, or Trump is dimwitted enough to allow his staffing and policy decisions to be manipulated by negative press coverage of his daughter and, by extension, himself. In other words, either Trump is an asshole, or Trump is a moron. (My money’s on both.)
The other day, I decided that it was unlikely that Bannon would relinquish his obvious influence over the President solely for the sake of airing and settling petty grievances with his former rivals in the White House. I believed that Bannon was savvy enough not to look a gift horse in the mouth, that he would forego retribution for slights real or imagined in service of advancing his ethno-nationalist agenda.
I still believe that. Steve Bannon is not Donald Trump — he isn’t going to burn bridges just for the sake of massaging his bruised ego, and he wouldn’t risk losing the President’s ear over something as petty as “I don’t like his kids.” In my view, someone with Bannon’s ideology doesn’t last very long in politics without a certain amount of guile. And the stories have backed that up: Bannon is known in political circles as “Machiavellian,” a sharp political mind capable of seeing the broader implications of every move he makes.
It’s a shame the people he hired at Breitbart don’t share his aptitude for shrewdness. A real shame indeed.