But quickly after, word came that Donald Trump appointed Bannon the White House’s chief strategist and that, weirdly, his name came first in the press release announcing the appointments, something only fanatics of D.C. political intrigue would pay attention to. The chief of staff is, or has been, the most important staff job in the White House – but maybe not anymore.
Later the understanding came that apparently these two are equals in the White House, something that will become clearer as time goes on – do both have to agree before things move forward? Will the President settle differences?
Trump, in his private sector days, is said to have liked pitting staffer against staffer. Quite problematic in the hustle of issues facing a White House daily – you don’t have time always for consensus because decisions must be made quickly. You can’t have co-equals managing the agenda or the staff.
One thing I learned about managing an organization – you hire good people and give them the responsibility and accountability and they let them perform. When you send mixed messages about who’s in charge, confusion will reign. Jealousies will grow. Real power struggles happen. Stagnation occurs.
On top of that, Bannon is a racist and conspiracy theorist. That may have served Trump well on a campaign when you are trying to appeal to coalitions that will elect you – well it wouldn't serve most of us well, but maybe it served Trump – but while serving as president, it will not serve him well. More importantly, it will not serve the country well.
The USA is a country created by immigrants, inhabited by immigrants and has attracted immigrants because of our legal tradition of equality for all.
So, while “comfort” came in the Priebus announcement, it was quickly followed by fear when the Bannon announcement came. He is an unabashed anti-Semite, anti-black, anti-, well, anti-most every group that isn’t pure white, from the evidence available.
He is a conspiracy-focused troll of the “Alt-right” which may be scarier than the American Nazi Party. He seldom apparently talks to the mainstream press so we can’t even get a look or hear of him to make up our own minds. So, we must rely on what we have heard about him from the mainstream media and from the conduct of his former employer, Breitbart. And neither is good.
Now, he will work steps from the Oval Office and be in it often.
More appointments will follow, probably continuing today. Trepidation reigns.
While Bannon has an impressive resume – other than the Breitbart years – he has a shaky background ranging from his divorce to his calling a conservative journalist, Bill Kirstol, a “renegade Jew.”
Trump had been saying all the right things since last Tuesday. He had been softening many of his campaign stands. And now this.
Trump’s surrogates go on TV and support the Bannon appointment. Former Cong. Jack Kingston even said, “I never heard of the Alt-right until a few weeks ago.” Uh-huh, yeah, right, Jack.
This is not starting off well, Mr. Trump. And, as he did on “60 Minutes” last night regarding the protests going on and his supporters allegedly verbally and physically assaulting those protesting his election, looking at the camera and saying “stop it” just won’t do.
This, Mr. President-elect, is where true leadership comes in. This is when you show you will be the president of all the people.
And now’s the time to show it.