Former White House adviser Steve Bannon said he would consider running for president if Donald Trump doesn't run for re-election in 2020. The chairman of Breitbart News and populist rabble-rouser — architect of Trump's infamous "American carnage" inauguration speech — has told people close to him that's a real possibility, Vanity Fair reported Thursday.
Bannon has said there is a 30 percent chance of Trump finishing his term, and he'll likely be removed via impeachment or the 25th Amendment. "That prospect seemed to become more likely in early December when special counsel Robert Mueller secured a plea deal from former national security adviser Michael Flynn," Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman wrote. "Bannon has also remarked on the toll the office has taken on Trump, telling advisers his former boss has 'lost a step.' … 'He’s like an 11-year-old child,' Bannon joked to a friend in November."
Bannon was bumped from his White House gig in August by newly arrived chief of staff John Kelly, after committing the cardinal sin of competing with Trump for the spotlight. And after returning to his post at Breitbart, he has shown signs of assembling a political machine himself, announcing plans to back a fleet of ultraconservative challengers to the GOP senators up for re-election in 2018.
That plan has stumbled out of the gate. Bannon-backed Roy Moore's failed Senate campaign in Alabama gave Democrats a seat for the first time in decades, narrowing the Republicans' already thin Senate majority. (Of Moore's alleged pedophilia, Bannon told Vanity Fair, "This is Alabama. The age of consent is 16 for a reason.") Earlier, the Bannonesque conservative candidate for Virginia governor, Ed Gillespie, lost handily to his Democratic challenger.
Bannon has no shortage of critics within the Republican establishment, who call him a white supremacist, a nihilist and — as Trump tried to paint fired FBI Director James Comey — a showboat. “I think there was a lot of rage when he was in the White House,” a prominent Republican told Vanity Fair. “Steve had to subsume his ego to Donald, who Steve thinks is dumb and crazy. With Steve, it’s not about building new things — it’s about destroying the old. I’m not sure he knows what he wants.”
Surprisingly, Bannon's campaign ideal is "the Obama model,” he told VF. He wants to build a coalition of evangelicals, libertarians, NRA members and union workers. “Remember when Rudy Giuliani came up on that stage in 2008 and starting mocking Obama and said, ‘What’s a community organizer’? And the whole place roared in laughter. Well, we now know — it’s somebody that can kick your ass.”