Steve Bannon Almost Quit In Piss-Rage Over Being Booted From National Security Council :(

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Lotsa "Palace Intrigue" surrounding yesterday's news that Steve Bannon was taken off the National Security Council, according to a story in the New York Times. The Nazi slob was, according to one White House source, so dead set against the demotion that he threatened to take all his plastic Stormtroopers and go home. Or if you believe Bannon's pals in the White House, Bannon's departure from the NSC was a real feather in his cap, not a big black eye at all. This crowd would make for a great TV soap opera if they weren't allegedly responsible for running the country.

Here's the most dish-y paragraph of the whole piece, which is yet another reminder of how wonderful it is that the Trump administration leaks like Steve Bannon's hip flask after a three-day Tijuana bar crawl:

Mr. Bannon resisted the move, even threatening at one point to quit if it went forward, according to a White House official who, like others, insisted on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Mr. Bannon’s camp denied that he had threatened to resign and spent the day spreading the word that the shift was a natural evolution, not a signal of any diminution of his outsize influence.

Call us cynical, but we're way more inclined to believe the unnamed source who says Bannon acted like a pissy little bitch than the unnamed sources who crowed this was a huge success for the man whose face looks like an aerial photograph of the Battle of the Somme. Also, Politico is reporting that Bannon's favorite funding source, billionaire Rebekah Mercer, personally stepped in to soothe Bannon's hurt feelings and convince him to stay, according to at least two anonymous insiders.

According to the Bannonistas' approved narrative, the whole reason Bannon was on the NSC in the first place was that he'd been put there to keep an eye on Michael Flynn, the designated fall guy in the Trump Russia story, which is also completely fake anyway. Once Flynn resigned after just 24 days as Trump's national security adviser, this version goes, Bannon's work was done and he no longer needed to be on the committee. Which makes no freaking sense at all, given that A: Flynn had always been one of Trump's most trusted suckups, and had been with the campaign long before Bannon was brought on last August; 2: if Bannon was only there to babysit Flynn, it makes no sense that he'd stay on the NSC almost another two months after Flynn was out; and III: why the hell would any sane administration appoint a national security adviser who was so distrusted that he needed an official minder? But that's the Bannon Brigade's story, and they're sticking to it.

For his own part, the walking road rash issued a cryptic statement that appears to have been written under the influence of absinthe and Derrida:

“Susan Rice operationalized the N.S.C. during the last administration,” Mr. Bannon said in a statement, referring to President Barack Obama’s last national security adviser. “I was put on the N.S.C. with General Flynn to ensure that it was de-operationalized. General McMaster has returned the N.S.C. to its proper function.”

Mr. Bannon did not explain what he meant by “operationalized” or how his presence on the committee had ensured it would not be.

We have to give credit to the Times for that postscript, which is one of the better text-based expressions of a raised eyebrow we've seen.

Incidentally, the good folks running Merriam-Webster's Twitter account were happy to be helpy, with some real-time feedback on the national WTF? elicited by Bannon's nonexplanatory explanation:

Unfortunately, while the linked bloggy post from the dictionary publishers has a nice definition, examples of usage, and a note that "operationalize" originated in military usage back in the '50s, it didn't offer any insight into just what the hell Bannon may have thought he was de-operationalizing during his time at the NSC. Probably the DEEP STATE. But you'll be glad to know that other trending dictionary lookups include complicit, filibuster, witch hunt, and immunity.

The rest of the story is another fine brew of White House infighting and drama, explaining that the big winner in this latest power shuffle in TrumpLand is Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, but noting that Bannon is a "crafty survivor, and insiders warned that it would be a mistake to underestimate him." SO MUCH INTERNAL STRIFE. It's like the intrigue and power games of the House of Medici, or perhaps a gaggle of high school Mean Girls:

James Jeffrey, a deputy national security adviser to Mr. Bush, said General McMaster appeared to have “scored one on the presumably more powerful Bannon,” but cautioned against reading too much into what it meant for Mr. Bannon. “He seems to be very close to the president and, by most accounts, still wins many of his battles,” Mr. Jeffrey said.

The piece also reminds readers that Donald Trump may have originally signed the executive order that pushed Bannon onto the NSC without actually knowing what was in it, adding a further detail to the chronicle of that sad episode: After realizing he had operationalized Bannon without anyone briefing him fully on what he'd just signed, Trump "briefly considered reversing it the same weekend it was announced, according to a person with direct knowledge, but decided against it for fear of creating more of a public storm." We're not sure it would have made any difference, considering the whole administration has been an unending series of category 4 derpicanes from the start.

A couple last bits of palace intrigue we learn about from this Times piece, which could really benefit from having a scorecard attached:

Mr. Bannon has also been at odds with Gary Cohn, the president’s national economics adviser. Mr. Cohn is close with Mr. Kushner, who has said privately that he fears that Mr. Bannon plays to the president’s worst impulses, according to people with direct knowledge of such discussions.

Moreover, Mr. Bannon’s Svengali-style reputation has chafed on a president who sees himself as the West Wing’s only leading man. Several associates said the president had quietly expressed annoyance over the credit Mr. Bannon had received for setting the agenda -- and Mr. Trump was not pleased by liberals’ considering him “President Bannon.”

Who could have seen that coming? Oh yes, it was us. We aren't sure what to make of the claim that America almost lost Steve Bannon from our long national nightmare -- the huffy resignation threat sounds more plausible than the idea that being tossed off the NSC was exactly the victory Bannon wanted, but then it's also entirely possible that one of Bannon's White House enemies might plant such a story just to undermine him. We may have to wait to see who's standing closest to Trump on the reviewing stand during the May Day military parade to know for sure.

Also, Jennifer said that Stacy was planning to steal Thad away from Shawna before the Step Into Spring Formal, but Shawna says Jennifer is full of it and hasn't been in the loop since that weekend Jennifer's parents grounded her for wandering in at 4 in the morning drunk with her best top all dirty from the backseat of Chip's Mustang, but Brad says everybody knows there's not enough room in the back of a Mustang for anything to happen, so maybe the egg is really on Shawna's face. Check Snapchat for updates.

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[NYT / Politico]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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