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Bannon and Kushner agree to ‘bury the hatchet’ after White House peace talks

Trumps chief of staff Reince Priebus tells the feuding pair to end the palace intrigue after weeks of damaging infighting

White House aides Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner have met and agreed to bury the hatchet over their differences, a senior administration official said, in a bid to stop infighting that has distracted from Donald Trumps message.

Bannon, the presidents chief strategist, and Kushner, an influential adviser and Trumps son-in-law, met on Friday at the request of White House chief of staff Reince Priebus who told them that if they have any policy differences, they should air them internally, the official said.

The development at the presidents Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, came at the end of what has been a relatively smooth week for Trump.

Trump ordered airstrikes against Syrian targets that drew praise in many parts of the world and staged an error-free summit with Chinese president Xi Jinping, complete with his wife, Melania, wearing a red dress to symbolise the Chinese flag.

Priebus message to Bannon and Kushner was to stop with the palace intrigue and focus on the presidents agenda, the official told Reuters.

Both aides left having agreed that it was time to bury the hatchet and move forward, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Four former advisers to the president said Trump is accustomed to chaos in his decades-long career as a real estate developer but that even he has grown weary of the infighting.

Hes got a long fuse for that kind of thing, said one former adviser. I imagine he has gotten tired of this.

The White House dismissed persistent talk that Trump might be on the verge of a staff shakeup. The only thing we are shaking up is the way Washington operates as we push the presidents aggressive agenda forward, spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said.

The Trump White House has been a hotbed of palace intrigue since he took office on Jan. 20. But the drama has intensified after the failed effort to get healthcare legislation approved by the House of Representatives and the rocky rollout of an executive order attempting to temporarily ban citizens of six Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States.

Bannon, former chief of the conservative news organisation Breitbart News, has been at odds with Kushner and Gary Cohn, the head of the White House national economic council, an administration official and the four former advisers said.

The former Trump advisers said Kushner, husband of Trump daughter Ivanka Trump, is trying to tug the president into a more mainstream position, while Bannon is trying to keep aflame the nationalist fervor that carried Trump to his unexpected election victory in November.

Bannon is getting some of the blame for the administrations early stumbles because, one former adviser said, the president demands results.

In what was viewed as a sign of Bannons declining influence, he was removed from his seat on the national security council this week. Administration officials said this was done at the urging of national security adviser HR McMaster, with whom Bannon had clashed.

Some of the former Trump advisers said Priebus is at fault for not gaining control of the feuding and said Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, would be a candidate to replace him.

Priebus is the former chairman of the Republican National Committee and bucked many in his party by putting the weight of the RNC behind Trump when it was clear he would be the partys presidential nominee. Reince is chief of staff, said a source familiar with the issue. Hes not going anywhere.

Republican strategist Charlie Black, who has known Trump for 30 years, said he did not think a shakeup was imminent and that Trumps White House reflects his traditional approach to running his business.

Hes always had a spokes-to-the-wheel management style, said Black. He wants people with differing views among the spokes.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/09/bannon-and-kushner-agree-to-bury-the-hatchet-after-white-house-peace-talks


Steve Bannon is calling the shots in the White House. That’s terrifying | Lawrence Douglas

He is unvetted, unconfirmed but immensely powerful all thanks to the undisciplined and distracted Donald Trump

That didnt take long. From no-drama Obama to all-trauma Trump: the shift has been seismic, leaving millions in this country and abroad frightened and struggling to make sense of Americas new political landscape.

Some of the upheaval appears to be the consequence of incompetence, the predictable result of an under-qualified real estate mogul struggling to master the most powerful and demanding job on the planet.

But not so with the travel ban. In this case, upheaval was the intent not to the degree we have seen; that clearly caught the administration off guard. But it was upheaval nonetheless.

As we now know, the drafting and rollout of the travel ban was largely the work of Steve Bannon, the presidents chief political strategist. It was Bannon who reportedly overruled the proposal to exempt green card holders from the ban. And it was Bannon who pushed the order through without consulting experts at the Department of Homeland Security or at the state department.

The Nacht und Nebel quality of the bans announcement makes clear that the presidents chief strategist wanted to send tremors through the world. Here was bold proof that the portentous accents of Trumps inaugural address, also Bannons work, was not mere rhetoric.

Now the world would know what America First means not first in democracy or human rights; not first in recognizing an obligation to victims of humanitarian crisis (some of which we have helped create). No, this was America first in pugilism, parochialism and misplaced protectionism.

Some insist that all this is simply Bannon throwing meat to the presidents base, plucking a page from Karl Roves playbook. Rove, the chief strategist for George W Bush (for whom many are now feeling a once inconceivable nostalgia), famously sought to consolidate his bosss power not by tacking toward the middle but by feeding the base.

Only it would be wrong to see Bannon as Rove 2.0. At his heart, Rove was a consummate political operator, for whom ideology was a tool, not an article of belief. Rove was a careerist and an opportunist, whose principal goal was the preservation and expansion of Republican political power.

Bannon is an altogether different creature. Listen to his early speeches. Bannon is a crusader, fighting to redeem a corrupt country betrayed by its feckless and greedy leaders. He once described himself as a Leninist, intent on destroying all of todays establishment.

For Bannon, America is engaged in a pitched struggle against threats from within and without. It is a battle that will last years, and requires iron resolve and steely determination. If the free press, a bastion of democratic self-governance, does not grasp these elusive truths, then it should keep its mouth shut, he says.

Bannon is not the presidents servant. The president is his tool. For years, Bannon cast about for the proper vehicle to carry the fight forward. Sarah Palin, Rick Perry they were considered possible material. Now in Donald Trump he has found adequate if imperfect stuff. Both are workaholics. Both share a protectionist mindset. Both are combative.

But Bannon, in contrast to the president, is not easily distracted. He is intelligent, articulate, focused in his ideology and dedicated to the struggle. And he has now been catapulted by an undisciplined president to the inner precincts of the National Security Council and its principals committee, assuming a position senior to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence.

Unvetted, unconfirmed but immensely powerful, Bannon may just be the most dangerous man in America.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/31/steve-bannon-most-dangerous-man-in-america


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