Why Trump's Palace Intrigue Matters

The breathless coverage of a Trump White House reportedly gripped by palace intrigue is enough to keep a reader’s head spinning.

Chief strategist Steve Bannon is about to be fired. Or will he quit? Maybe neither, but his clout has certainly waned. Stephen Miller, once a Bannon acolyte, is now aligned with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Economic adviser Gary Cohn, a Wall Street man and past donor to top Democrats, also now has President Trump’s ear.

All of this may sound like so much schoolyard gossip, but it matters. The declining White House status of the populist-nationalist Mr. Bannon has telegraphed the rise of the more-moderate, establishment-oriented “globalists” – foremost, Mr. Cohn, Mr. Kushner, and his wife, Ivanka Trump.

All of this points to a core fact about Trump that was well-known from the beginning of his campaign – that above all, he is results-oriented.

“What could make the Trump presidency successful is that he’s not wedded to a particular ideology,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Donald Trump was not elected to be president of the Republican Party or a doctrinaire conservative. He is about putting people back to work and getting things done, and he’ll move around the spectrum to do it.”

Another non-negotiable with Trump is his family. “Bannon got himself caught up in family business, and it’s unwinnable for him,” says Mr. O’Connell. “The question is not, is his influence diminished, but can he stay in the administration.”

Read more from Linda Feldmann at The Christian Science Monitor

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Analysis & Political Strategy