Steve Bannon all but dares Trump and Kelly to fire him.
Some conservatives deride Mr. Cohn as a Wall Street Democrat, but he has assembled a first-rate policy team with free-market views. They are crucial to pulling off tax reform in the autumn and to holding off destructive ideas like withdrawing from Nafta.
.. Then there’s the national-security team that is trying to navigate the dangerous world they inherited from Barack Obama. Jim Mattis at Defense, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley are clear-eyed about the threats posed by Russia, Iran and North Korea. Whatever their policy differences, they know the value of alliances and diplomacy backed by military power.
They’re also reassuring to a world that doesn’t know how to read Mr. Trump’s Twitter outbursts. There’s no evidence they plan to leave, but if they did it would send a political shock that would ignite calls for Mr. Trump’s resignation.
.. Mr. Bannon has a Manichean view of politics, at home and abroad, that is sure to become destructive. “To me,” he told Mr. Kuttner, “the economic war with China is everything.”
.. Most striking is Mr. Bannon’s willingness to undercut Mr. Trump’s policy of pressuring China by saying there’s “no military solution” on North Korea. He said he’d consider a deal in which North Korea freezes its nuclear program with verifiable inspections in return for U.S. withdrawal from the Korean peninsula. But this would be a strategic windfall for China and North Korea, leveraging the nuclear threat to push the U.S. out of East Asia.
.. Mr. Bannon says he didn’t realize his chat with the journalist was on the record, which is hard to believe given his years of media experience. We almost wonder if it’s a dare to Mr. Kelly to fire him.
If Mr. Trump retains Mr. Bannon after such a public declaration of disdain for his colleagues, the President will risk other departures. And if Mr. Trump rejects such a request from Mr. Kelly, the chief of staff will have to wonder whether he can do his job.
- They see a rare moment of united Republican government to move in a better direction on domestic policy.
- Or they want to correct the erosion of American power and influence that accelerated during the Obama years.
Every person has to decide how long he or she can serve in good conscience. But we hope the best stay as long as they can for the good of the country.