Bannon-Trump reconciliation could see ex-strategist use 'War Room' podcast to provide president with platform
Have Steve Bannon, Trump’s estranged former White House adviser, and the twice-impeached U.S. President buried the hatchet? As per Bloomberg News, a source said that Trump has repeatedly spoken to Bannon by phone in recent weeks -- for counsel on his campaign to overturn his re-election defeat. The source also said the president has sought out allies who would tell him what he wants to hear as he continues to make false claims that the election was stolen from him.
As chief strategist, Bannon was one of the most powerful figures in the White House early in the Trump administration. But he left the Trump administration in August 2017 after reportedly constantly clashing with other aides. The rift between Bannon and the president widened in the months ahead when Bannon was revealed to have given highly critical remarks on the record about Trump and his family.
Michael Wolff’s book, ‘Fire and Fury’, quoted Bannon at length lambasting Trump and his family -- he called Donald Trump Jr.’s decision to meet Russians during the election campaign “treasonous”, and called Ivanka Trump “dumb as a brick”. Bannon claimed he had been referring to then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, and not to Trump Jr. But the damage was done. The New York Times reported that Trump, described by his spokeswoman as “furious, disgusted,” said Bannon had “lost his mind.”
“Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books,” Trump said in a January 2018 statement.
As per the Bloomberg report, it isn’t clear how many times the two men have spoken or how recently. But Bannon has been making considerable efforts to get back in Trump’s good graces for some time now. The question that arises here is: how can Bannon help? He’s himself in trouble.
In August last year, Bannon was charged with defrauding donors to a private fund-raising effort called We Build the Wall, which was intended to bolster the president’s long-promised initiative along the Mexican border. The fund-raising effort collected more than $25 million, and prosecutors said Bannon used nearly $1 million of it for personal expenses.
The answer to the aforementioned question probably lies in a podcast. During Trump’s first impeachment in 2019, Bannon launched a podcast called ‘War Room’ in which he and other Trump allies publicly defended the president. Bannon has already used the podcast to back the president’s unfounded claims that the outcome of the 2020 election where he was defeated by Joe Biden was fraudulent. With most platforms banning Trump in the last week, Bannon's podcast may be an avenue for Trump to get his word out.
There may be a problem there as well. Last Friday, in the aftermath of the insurrection at the Capitol building in Washington DC, YouTube banned the ‘War Room’ channel, claiming it repeatedly violated the Google-owned platform's rules. YouTube said it issued two strikes against Bannon's channels on Thursday for a pair of videos that violated the platform's rules, though the company didn't specify which videos were taken down. Back in November, Bannon called for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.
The ban came hours after Rudy Guiliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, said on the podcast: "Believe me, Trump people were not scaling the wall. So there's nothing to it that he incited anything… Also, there's equal if not more responsibility on the fascists who now running the Democrat Party, who have imposed censorship on these people, who have been singling them out for unfair treatment since the IRS started going after conservative groups."