Jack Crowe on August 21, 2017
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon celebrated Chief of Staff John Kelly’s ability to prevent Ivanka Trump from influencing her father through unscheduled emotion-laden visits to the oval office.
“Those days are over when Ivanka can run in and lay her head on the [president’s] desk and cry,” Bannon told multiple people, according to The New York Times.
Bannon, who saw his influence decrease after the conclusion of President Donald Trump’s campaign, often lamented Ivanka’s presidential access. Bannon viewed Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, whom he referred to as “Javanka,” as a political liability and likely to alienate Trump’s base by rejecting the national populist agenda that won Trump the White House.
Kelly, who was appointed July 28, immediately brought a previously unseen degree of discipline and process to the chaotic West Wing. Kelly quickly established himself by exercising tight control over Trump’s access to information and personnel, ensuring control of the latter by instituting a strict closed door policy in the Oval office.
Jared and Ivanka clashed with Bannon over their appeals to moderate republicans and independents on issues like immigration. Bannon pushed back against their agenda, arguing that their futile attempts to appeal to an unreachable constituency would imperil support from their base.
“They hate the very mention of his [Trump’s] name,” Bannon told the duo. “There is no constituency for this.”
Kelly informed Bannon in late July that he would be required to step down, and the pair mutually agreed that Bannon would leave quietly in mid August. Bannon’s clash with fellow advisors over Trump’s response to the Charlottesville riots complicated his departure.
Bannon characteristically counseled Trump to remain adamant in his initial characterization of the Charlottesville riots as the product of criminality on both sides of the political spectrum. Bannon once again found himself isolated as the rest of Trump’s advisors convinced him to release another statement explicitly condemning the actions of the neo-Nazis present in Charlottesville.
Kelly agreed to move Bannon’s Aug. 14 departure to Labor Day so as to avoid the appearance that he was being dismissed over disagreements related to Trump’s Charlottesville’s response.
Bannon hastened his departure by contradicting Trump’s position on North Korea in an interview with The American Prospect, in which he also called for the dismissal of some in the administration.