THE internal tensions of Donald Trump’s White House have been laid bare by the man who used to be the president’s top adviser.
THE internal tensions of Donald Trump’s White House have been laid bare by the very man who used to be his top adviser.
In a revealing interview with Vanity Fair, Steve Bannon, who served as Mr Trump’s political strategist before he was pushed out of the job in August, was remarkably candid about the simmering rivalries that plagued the President’s inner circle.
At the centre of it all is Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who repeatedly clashed with Mr Bannon.
The former investment banker and co-founder of Breitbart News used the interview with Vanity Fair to repeatedly slam the couple, referring to them disparagingly as “Javanka”.
He also blamed them for bad decisions made during Mr Trump’s first year in office.
Ms Trump believed Mr Bannon was behind the leaks damaging her father’s presidency, and their relationship deteriorated so badly that Mr Trump called a meeting in the Oval Office in an attempt to diffuse the situation, according to Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman.
Things soon turned ugly as Mr Bannon and the President’s daughter let loose at each other.
“She’s the queen of leaks,” Mr Bannon reportedly said.
“You’re a f***ing liar!” Ms Trump fired back.
The interview revealed exactly how toxic the relationship became — and how much contempt Mr Bannon still has for “Javanka”.
Mr Bannon said it was clear Mr Kushner, who was given a wide portfolio of responsibilities by the President, was in way over his head.
“He doesn’t know anything about the hobbits or the deplorables,” Mr Bannon said, referring to Mr Trump’s voters. “The railhead of all bad decisions is the same railhead: Javanka.”
Mr Bannon said Mr Kushner’s decision to hold meetings with Russians during the election campaign may have given the impression the Trump camp sought Moscow’s help.
The article also highlights how any hope the pair had of a decent working relationship was over following the firing of FBI director James Comey in May and Mr Kushner’s involvement in that decision.
In an earlier interview, Mr Bannon called it “the dumbest political decision in modern political history”.
Mr Bannon also referenced the now withdrawn allegation that Mr Trump raped a 13-year-old girl.
Mr Bannon also took aim at Ms Trump for her intervention in the recent Senate election in Alabama, a deeply conservative state where his favoured candidate, Republican Roy Moore, still managed to lose.
Mr Moore’s campaign became embroiled in allegations of sexual misconduct after multiple women came forward to accuse him of preying on teenage girls. One accuser claimed Mr Moore molested her when she was 14 and he was in his thirties.
Mr Moore denied all the allegations, but Ms Trump moved to distance herself from him, saying “there is a special place in hell for people who prey on children”.
Mr Bannon, meanwhile, continued to support Mr Moore during the campaign, even introducing him at events.
Referring to Ms Trump’s comments during his Vanity Fair interview, Mr Bannon didn’t hold back, dredging up the now-withdrawn allegation that her father raped a 13-year-old girl.
“What about the allegations about her dad and that 13-year-old?” he said.
Mr Bannon was referring to unproven claims from a California woman that Mr Trump had raped her. The President denied those claims, which have since been withdrawn.
UNHAPPY WHITE HOUSE
Following his inauguration last January, Mr Trump quickly set about appointing members of his family, including his daughter and son-in-law, to key advisory roles in the White House.
However things were far from rosy in his administration from the start.
The President’s blunt-spoken and divisive strategist, Mr Bannon, repeatedly clashed with other top advisers, most notably Mr Kushner, with some critics arguing it was fuelling division and instability in the US government.
Following Mr Bannon’s departure, Republican politician Pete King said Mr Bannon had to go because he was creating chaos in the West Wing and undermining the President.