It was February 23 when Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist, appeared with Reince Priebus, the president’s chief of staff, before an adoring audience at the Conservative Political Action Committee meeting. Wearing a black jacket and dark button-up shirt, Bannon prattled on about the “deconstruction of the administrative state” and went after the “globalist, corporatist media.” He spoke of “economic nationalism,” and the Trump team’s desire to “reconstruct our trade arrangements around the world.” It was, arguably, the high point of Bannonism, the mix of isolationism, protectionism and nationalism that reinforced Trump’s own instincts on those issues and helped get him elected.
Yet Bannonism didn’t even last three months. Its promulgator is now said to be in retreat in the White House—possibly soon to be jettisoned entirely, if the rumors are true—as the president publicly distances himself from him. (In an interview with New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin, the president said—accurately—“I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve. I’m my own strategist, and it wasn’t like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary.”
When you’re running the most powerful country on earth, it’s best to let reality intrude, and Trump, to his credit, has now done that. Some in the White House say his presidency effectively began on April 4, when…
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