Since it was revealed yesterday that Steve Bannon was removed from Trump's National Security Council, the mainstream media rumor mill has run wild with speculation over whether the transition was voluntary or a devastating blindside to a man once considered Trump's right-hand man.
Not surprisingly, Bannon's 'official' statement, which suggested that his removal was simply a natural progression after Michael Flynn's dismissal and the appointment of General McMaster, did little to calm the rampant speculation of a rising civil war within the Trump administration.
"I was put on to ensure that [Susan Rice's NSC] was de-operationalized. General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function."
Pence also downplayed the alleged drama last night on Fox News saying that Bannon would continue to play a key role in the Trump White House.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 5, 2017
Despite the G-rated statements from the White House, the MSM continues to promote a more sordid tale, with full attribution to anonymous sources of course, that puts Bannon on the outs in the Trump administration, leaving him on the verge of resigning his post.
And while we suggest consuming anonymously-sourced media speculation with a healthy dose of salt, the latest rumor mill would suggest that Bannon finds himself in the midst of an epic fight for survival in the White House with none other than Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Here is Axios' take:
The two sides: The Bannonites believe the liberals staged a coup and will turn Trump into a conventional squish who betrays the very voters who brought him to power. The Jared wing thinks the Bannonites are clinically nuts.
Killing Bannon won't be easy: His staunchest ally is one of Trump's closest confidants — Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Kellyanne Conway will go to the mat for him, as will policy advisor Stephen Miller. He's also built strong relationships with other cabinet secretaries including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. In the end, though, family matters most and all but dad are done with Bannon and his politics.
Meanwhile, recent moves that seemingly consolidate the power base of Jared and Ivanka have only served to fan the speculation of unrest.
Jared Kushner seizes control over structuring government at home and America's public face aboard.
Ivanka Trump adviser Dina Powell is named Deputy National Security Adviser, and keeps her portfolio as senior counselor for economic initiatives.
But while many in the media would love nothing more than to see Bannon resign from his post, and will undoubtedly progress any narrative required to help bring that to a fruition, the rumor mill would suggest that he's unlikely to go down without a fight after allegedly telling allies: "I love a gunfight."
Of course, only time will tell fact from fiction, but much like Mark Twain, we suspect that the reports of Bannon's early death are greatly exaggerated...
The news on Bannon being removed from NSC is being massively overplayed in my opinion. This guy still can walk right into the Oval
— Ryan Evans (@EvansRyan202) April 6, 2017