It may have taken days for Steve Bannon to walk back his disparaging comments documented in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury”, with a Sunday apology aimed at winning back the trust of POTUS Trump and his family…but it did not take US President Trump long to swipe away Bannon’s peace offering, as Trump aides describe the president demanding a stark choice from supporters of both men: you’re either with Bannon, or with me.
Of course Trump has all the leverage, he is the US President, and conservatives are overwhelmingly backing the President over Bannon.
Bannon lost big time, and now it is in Trump’s hands, when and if he will forgive Bannon’s disloyalty.
Trump’s aides are tracking who came out with full-throated criticism of Bannon over the weekend, and they put out the word that the president is keeping score.
Trump remains irritated over losing the first week of the year to titillating excerpts from the book “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff, which is focused on the president and his dysfunctional White House.
One person who was judged as being insufficiently critical of Bannon was David Bossie, president of Citizens United. On Friday night, Bossie came out with a forceful condemnation of Bannon, his longtime friend, in an op-ed in the Washington Post.
Bannon may have hoped his statement would begin to put the episode behind him. A half dozen sources describe almost the exact opposite: Trump remains angry at the disloyalty of his former strategist, and is forcing a him-or-me moment inside Trump World and the Republican Party as a whole.
“I don’t know if it’s ever repairable,” said Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, who has been friends with Bannon for two decades. “These wounds are pretty deep.”