Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reports:
President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.
The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.
Bannon has been twisting in the wind for some time. News of his ouster will surprise no one.
Bannon didn’t help matters when he granted an interview to left-wing journalist Robert Kuttner of “The American Prospect” in which he seemed to ridicule the idea that the U.S. has a viable military option against North Korea. Bannon stated:
Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
File this one under Michael Kinsley’s definition of a gaffe.
Though my view of Bannon is mixed, I’m sorry to see him go. I think he provided an important counterweight to those with whom he clashed — Gary Cohn, a Democrat, Dina Powell, H.R. McMaster, and Jared Kushner. All of them, in various ways, seek to moderate President Trump on policy matters. Who now will speak up for substantive hard-line conservative and nationalistic positions?
NOTE: Haberman’s article also includes this passage:
A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but the move was delayed after the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.