It is official – Axios reported Mr Trump saying the sackings were a matter of “when” not “whether” Bannon and Priebus will be fired.
Donald Trump is considering sacking Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus, two of the President’s closest advisers, in a major shake-up of White House staff, according to Axios reports.
Insiders tell Axios that the possibilities for chief of staff include:
- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who developed a bond with Trump as one of the earlier congressional leaders to support him, and remains a confidant.
- Wayne Berman of Blackstone Group, a Washington heavy-hitter who was an Assistant Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. Bush, and a key adviser on eight presidential campaigns.
- David Urban of the Washington advisory firm American Continental Group, and a former chief of staff to the late Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Urban helped Trump win an upset victory in Pennsylvania, and was in constant cellphone contact with the candidate throughout the campaign.
- Gary Cohn, Trump’s economic adviser and the former #2 at Goldman Sachs, who has built a formidable team and internal clout.
The West Wing “Game of Thrones” has been raging ever since Trump took office. But the war between the nationalists and the moderates, led by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, burst into the open this week after Bannon was taken off the National Security Council, setting off a torrent of leaks against him.
Bannon called reports that he was ready to quit “100 percent nonsense.”
Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports that Bannon told associates: “I love a gunfight.”
The top aide — along with many other Trump officials, advisers and friends — told us that it seems to be more a question of “when” not “whether” change will come: “The tension, the exhaustion, the raw nerves have gotten much harder to disguise.”
A senior aide to Mr Trump was quoted by a US news outlet as saying “things are happening, but it’s very unclear the president’s willing to pull that trigger”.
“The tension, the exhaustion, the raw nerves have gotten much harder to disguise.”Bannon threatened to quit over NSC removal
It is understood that the changes could include the departure of Mr Bannon, the President’s chief strategist, and Mr Priebus, the White House Chief of Staff.
Axios reported a top aide to Mr Trump saying the sackings were a matter of “when” not “whether”.
Mr Bannon, a controversial, right-wing newcomer to US politics who formerly edited the Breitbart news website, was instrumental in Mr Trump’s election campaign.
But he was stripped of his position within the National Security Council (NSC) earlier this week in a move that startled Washington observers and appeared to cast doubt on his future in the administration.
Mr Bannon was given a senior role on the council despite having limited experience of foreign policy.
Tensions between Mr Trump and his chief strategist are reported to have ratcheted up amid reports Mr Bannon threatened to quit over his removal from the NSC.
Rumors about his role in the Trump team followed a US missile strike on a Syrian airfield.
While there is no suggestion of a link between Mr Bannon’s apparently precarious position in the administration and Friday morning’s air strike, his brand of “economic nationalism” does not sit comfortably with intervention in foreign wars.
For Mr Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman, rumours concerning his position in the Trump team have swirled before now.
In February, unsubstantiated reports suggested he could be removed from his position over the forced resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Mr Bannon jumped to Mr Priebus’ defense at the time, saying he was “livid” at the suggestion as “Reince is doing an amazing job”.