The original, populist, "grassroots" Trump, the one who won the elections before surrounding himself with various Goldman Sachs-derived advisors, made a solid comeback this past week: just consider the flurry of recent actions undertaken by the president.
When Trump ran for president last year, he frequently said that only he “alone” could fix the nation’s problems. But once he took office, Trump attempted to follow the lead of Republicans on Capitol Hill, and he watched with dismay how little movement was made on priorities such as healthcare, immigration, and national security. And, after weeks of seeing his agenda imperiled by Republican divisions and infighting among his aides, Trump became a whirlwind of activity this week, reasserting his campaign priorities and trying to deliver wins for his fervent but frustrated base of supporters.
Indeed, Trump took steps to dramatically undercut the Obamacare health system, sent notice he was willing to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, moved to roll back coal-plant limits, and again demanded a wall along the Mexican border. In doing so, Trump reverting back to conflicts and fights that defined the core of his campaign, and which drifted as Trump became increasingly more institutionalized by the Washington swamp. Meanwhile, on Twitter Trump increasingly relished his feuds with the news media, senior Republicans in Congress, and National Football League players who have protested during the national anthem.
As Reuters puts it, "it was the vintage, freewheeling Trump: throwing red meat to his voter base, following his gut, and haranguing his critics." And, drumdoll, it seems to be working: by the end of the week, Trump had made more progress in undoing the policy accomplishments of Barack Obama, than he had in some time, all without the help of anyone in Congress.
Another indication of the return of the "old" Trump, emerged overnight when the WSJ reported that President Trump reportedly reached out to Stephen Bannon, his former chief strategist who was fired at the peak of Trump's conversion to an institutionalized politician several months ago, to offer encouragement after Bannon called for Republicans who don't support Trump's agenda to be ousted earlier this week.
Trump called to offer the encouragement after Bannon appeared on Fox News earlier this week saying he is seeking to line up challengers to GOP incumbents.
"There's a coalition coming together that is going to challenge every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz," Bannon said during the Monday night interview on "Hannity."
Jared Kushner also reportedly texted Bannon his praise after the interview. Bannon then celebrated the interview with friends across the street from the Fox studio.
Bannon, who returned to run Breitbart News after his ousting as Trump's chief advisor, where he said he would be a "wingman outside" the White House for Trump to help advance the president's agenda, secured an early political victory after throwing his support behind former judge Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate GOP runoff last month. Moore defeated the establishment-backed candidate Sen. Luther Strange, who was backed by Trump at the urging of Republican congressional leadership.
Meanwhile, in the latest indication that the union between Trump and Bannon is bein restored, the Former White House chief strategist said Saturday that President Trump will "win with 400 electoral votes in 2020," following a report last week in which a "source" told the Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman that Bannon had lost faith in the president's ability to complete his current term.
"The populist, nationalist, conservative revolt that's going on, that drove Donald Trump to victory, that drove Judge [Roy] Moore to victory, that will drive 15 candidates to victory in 2018, and I hate to break it Graydon Carter and the good folks at Vanity Fair, but yes, President Trump is not only going to finish this term, he's going to win with 400 electoral votes in 2020," Bannon said, lashing out at the Vanity Fair report during a speech at the Values Voter Summit in Washington.
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon: "Pres. Trump's not only going to finish this term, he's going to win with 400 electoral votes in 2020." pic.twitter.com/uzX4epfStq— ABC News (@ABC) October 14, 2017
As we noted on Wednesday, according to a Vantiry Fair source, Bannon reportedly said several months ago that Trump only has a 30% chance of finishing his current term, with the source adding that Trump also did not know the function of the 25th Amendment. In his speech Saturday, Bannon also committed that he would "get to the progressive Democrats," but said that "right now it's a season of war against the GOP establishment."
Bannon also laid out his plans to back challengers to establishment Republicans in Congress for the 2018 midterm elections in an interview earlier this week. "There's a coalition coming together that is going to challenge every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz," Bannon told Fox News's Sean Hannity on Monday according to The Hill.