With Bannon’s departure, a strong voice for the administration is now gone

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Of all the departures from the West Wing in the last month, Stephen Bannon’s departure on Friday was by far the most disturbing to President Trump’s base. After less than a full year serving to drive Trump’s America first agenda, he was forced out. Bannon has been called a variety of things, most of them deeply unfair, but he was, and is, one thing for sure: the loudest and truest voice to the America First agenda among the Trump team.

What’s troubling about Bannon’s departure is that the strong voice that was advocating day in and day out for the campaign agenda is now gone, replaced by senior staff voices that are not in alignment with the people who put Donald Trump in the White House. Having been in Washington, D.C., for nearly 20 years now, with a father that served in Congress for 10 years, it is very apparent to me that personnel is policy.

{mosads}I’ve seen congressmen made better, or worse, quite frankly, by their staff choices. Elected officials rely on staff to analyze events, research solutions, and so much more. Staff that doesn’t have their boss’ best interests at heart can sink even the best politicians. But staff can also provide the support that ends up being critical. I have seen most stalwart conservative members, after getting beaten about the head by leadership, begin to waver, but the right staff can reassure and give them the extra bit of resolve members need in tough times.


The left, with its allies in the mainstream media, are engaged in total war with literally every item on Trump’s agenda. It’s critical that a strong voice reassures and reminds the president that yes, the agenda that got you into the Oval Office is the right agenda.

Let me be clear on this point: I do believe President Trump’s instincts are absolutely inclined toward the America First populist agenda.

There is clear evidence of that in the months leading up to Bannon’s arrival on the campaign in August of 2016. But what Bannon was able to do was really clarify and crystallize what the America First agenda meant beyond some of the broader points.  

Look no further than the multiple whiteboards in Bannon’s office in the West Wing detailing out everything that the agenda meant and what the campaign promises meant in regards to actual policy. There were check marks next to the promises kept, but there were quite a few items with no check marks — and that is where the concern centers moving forward. With Bannon out of the White House, it’s an open question: Who will inherit the whiteboards?

If personnel is policy, staffers and advisers serve as reinforcement for decision-making, either good or bad, and there are a lot of voices in Trump’s ear that are not for the winning campaign agenda, the America First agenda. Not everybody in the boat is rowing in the same direction. With greater influence, those voices, the neo-cons, the establishment types and the liberal elite set have their own distinct agendas, many of which are not simpatico with the base or a populist agenda and, dare I say, of some even a Republican agenda.

Take, for example, the approach to foreign policy. It should be obvious that a decent percentage of people voted for Trump in a rejection of past Republican administrations’ neo-con approach to foreign policy and national security. While there is a desire to see a strong national defense and a strong America on the international stage asserting that its interests be accommodated, there is no desire for nation building.

And there is very little stomach for seeing more American troops shipped into countries like Venezuela. But beyond foreign policy and national security, there’s the immigration issue, healthcare reform, tax reform and even climate change in which Trump has rejected even the moderate Republican approach to focus on cracking down and stopping illegal immigration and yes, even pushing to build a physical wall.

If you have followed the career of Stephen Bannon for any length of time, one thing is clear; he’s going to stick to his guns and fight for the agenda he believes in, no matter the opposition he faces. He will take shots at anyone, anywhere, who is not supporting the America First agenda, including Democrats and globalists in the West Wing.

The left has made it clear; it seeks nothing less than impeachment. The left isn’t looking to unseat the president in 2020, it’s desperately clawing for a “do-over” button to undo the 2016 election. President Trump must realise there’s nothing he can do to win its members over to his side. The New Yorkers in the White House advising the president might think otherwise, but it’s just not true. Olive branches to the left might make those socialites feel better at cocktail parties with their friends, but it won’t change the political calculus.

Democrats will never support him. The mainstream media never will. There’s an argument to be made that many in the establishment Republican D.C. set never will. So I’d encourage President Trump to “dance with the one that brung ya” — the conservative base that brought Donald Trump to the White House.

As Shania Twain said, dance with the one that brought you and you can’t go wrong. So dance with the one that brought you.

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Steve Bannon

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