Trump, Bannon, Ryan And The Leaked NRCC-Sponsored Conference Call
Monday night Breitbart leaked this Paul Ryan tape from last October, a kind of a pep-talk going into the final lap of the 2016 election. We all read about it when he said he wouldn't be defending Trum now or in the future and that Trump is, intact, indefensible. But hearing it brings it home even more powerfully. And no, I'm not one of those who believes Trump will give a damn. What I think Trump will give a damn about is how following Ryan's lead on healthcare-- to the point where the abomination has been dubbed TrumpCare-- is making him look like a loser-- and a loser who isn't keeping his promises to his base. That Trump will find intolerable, not Ryan's whiny speech to a bunch of cowards before the election. For Trump, nothing matters but the optics; it's always the optics, nothing else.
Bannon and the Breitbart organization still detest Ryan and fear he could stand in the way of their quest for world domination. No doubt that's why they leaked it; but it won't work. Trump doesn't dwell in the past-- he did win-- and he doesn't think that way. Could it even backfire on Bannon? This is over a month old, but worth contemplating today as this Godzilla vs Mothra battle heats up:
The bungled rollout of his executive order barring immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, a flurry of other miscues and embarrassments, and an approval rating lower than that of any comparable first-term president in the history of polling have Mr. Trump and his top staff rethinking an improvisational approach to governing that mirrors his chaotic presidential campaign, administration officials and Trump insiders said.
Chris Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media and an old friend of the president’s, said: “I think, in his mind, the success of this is going to be the poll numbers. If they continue to be weak or go lower, then somebody’s going to have to bear some responsibility for that.”
By then, the president, for whom chains of command and policy minutiae rarely meant much, was demanding that Mr. Priebus begin to put in effect a much more conventional White House protocol that had been taken for granted in previous administrations: From now on, Mr. Trump would be looped in on the drafting of executive orders much earlier in the process.
Another change will be a new set of checks on the previously unfettered power enjoyed by Mr. Bannon and the White House policy director, Stephen Miller, who oversees the implementation of the orders and who received the brunt of the internal and public criticism for the rollout of the travel ban.
Mr. Priebus has told Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon that the administration needs to rethink its policy and communications operation in the wake of embarrassing revelations that key details of the orders were withheld from agencies, White House staff and Republican congressional leaders like Speaker Paul D. Ryan.
Also, Mr. Priebus has created a 10-point checklist for the release of any new initiatives that includes signoff from the communications department and the White House staff secretary, Robert Porter, according to several aides familiar with the process.
Mr. Priebus bristles at the perception that he occupies a diminished perch in the West Wing pecking order compared with previous chiefs. But for the moment, Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.
It is partly because he is seen as having a clear vision on policy. But it is also because others who had been expected to fill major roles have been less confident in asserting their power.
Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, occupies a central role in the administration and has been present at most major decisions and photo ops, but he is a father of young children who has taken to life in Washington, and, along with his wife, Ivanka Trump, has already been spotted at events around town.
Mr. Bannon has rushed into the vacuum, telling allies that he and Mr. Miller have a brief window in which to push through their vision of Mr. Trump’s economic nationalism.
Mr. Bannon, whose website, Breitbart, was a magnet for white nationalists and xenophobic speech, has also tried to reassure official Washington. He has been careful to build bridges with the Republican establishment, especially Mr. Ryan — whom he once described as “the enemy” and vowed to force out. He now talks regularly with Mr. Ryan to coordinate strategy or plot their planned overhaul of the tax code.
Before he was ousted in November as transition chief, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, the Trump adviser with the most government experience, helped prepare a detailed staffing and implementation plan in line with the kickoff strategies of previous Republican presidents.
It was discarded-- a senior Trump aide made a show of tossing it into a garbage can-- for a strategy that prioritized the daily release of dramatic executive orders to put opponents on the defensive.
Mr. Christie, who agrees in principle with the broad strokes of Mr. Trump’s immigration policy, says the president has been let down by his staff.
“The president deserves better than the rollout he got on the immigration executive order,” Mr. Christie said. “The fact is that he’s put forward a policy that, in my opinion, is significantly more effective than what he had proposed during the campaign, yet because of the botched implementation, they allowed his opponents to attack him by calling it a Muslim ban.”