Donald Trump made Steve Bannon. And, on Tuesday, he unmade him.
Bannon, who served as Trump’s senior White House strategist until he was fired in August 2017, left as the head of Breitbart News — roughly one week after quotes critical of Trump and his family went public in Michael Wolff’s blockbuster book, “Fire and Fury.”
Bannon’s allegations — that the July 2016 meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and several Russians who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton was “treasonous,” for one — set the President off.
Trump took a flamethrower to Bannon, whom he suggested had lost his mind. He even gave Bannon a much dreaded nickname — “Sloppy Steve” — presumably in reference to Bannon’s unshaved appearance and penchant for wearing three (or more) collared shirts layered on top of one another.
By the time Bannon realized just how badly he had screwed up, it was too late. His groveling apology to Trump didn’t move the needle. And his longtime financial patron, Rebekah Mercer, abandoned Bannon too.
Bannon’s departure on Tuesday was simply a recognition of the obvious: He was far too damaged in the eyes of Trumpworld to possibly continue in his role at Breitbart.
What Bannon forgot: The staff is the staff and the politician is the politician, and the politician always matters more. Bannon imagined himself a sort of quasi-president and the actual President bristled. (The best evidence that Bannon had forgotten his place? Rumors that he was going to run for president in his own right.)
The Point: Trump took Bannon from the fringes of the political conversation all the way to the White House. Somewhere along the way, Bannon forgot that Trump was the boss and he was the underling. Everything that happened after that was sadly predictable.