The ‘campaign Donald Trump’ is set to return in the coming weeks and months, with extensive reports of major staffing reshuffles in Trump world favoring operatives associated with the grassroots right that spearheaded the historic victory last year. This follows an evident shift to the right on policy emanating from the Trump administration, including Trump hammering NATO leaders on their failure to adhere to the terms of the alliance, siding with the Freedom Caucus against Paul Ryan on the border tax, and unveiling an impressive, conservative budget plan.
A report by Axios suggests White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon will be heading a new “war room” to take on the liberal media and their deep state sources, who are seeking to undermine the Trump presidency with questionable allegations of collusion with Russia. Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, is regarded by nationalists as their strongest advocate within the administration. Although he was said to have been sidelined back in April, it appears the continued onslaught of negative media coverage has led Trump to re-embrace his ‘America First’ roots.
According to the Washington Post, this war room is likely to also include Bannon ally David Bossie, the President of Citizens’ United and a former Trump deputy campaign manager. In addition, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is mentioned as an individual who could play a managing role in the new body. Given the momentum for a more brass-knuckles approach to the media, as exemplified by GOP rising star Greg Gianforte, Lewandowski would be an ideal choice to show fake news reporters who’s boss. Lewandowski is said to have pioneered the concept of the ‘Trump rally’, which the President is set to resume doing on a regular basis across the country.
One person who may not be pleased with a Lewandowski appointment is veteran political strategist Roger Stone, who had a bitter personal rivalry with Lewandowski during the early phase of the campaign. However, Stone’s allies are apparently not being left out of the reshuffle, with Sam Nunberg being considered for a role in either the White House or an outside group closely aligned with the President. Nunberg was previously ousted from the Trump campaign by Lewandowski as part of a proxy war with Stone, but the Post report suggests that Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, another right-wing Trump ally, is attempting to reconcile the two men.
In addition, libertarian White House Counsel Don McGahn is said to be expanding his office, suggesting his influence within the White House is rapidly growing.
Party insider and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, generally regarded as a Republican establishment stalwart, is apparently being considered for an appointment as Ambassador to Greece, a move that can only be described as a convenient way to banish him.
Meanwhile, Jared Kushner, a liberal Democrat and the President’s son-in-law, is said to be taking a “reduced role” in the wake of accusations he attempted to set up a backchannel between the President and the Russian government. This follows recent reports that Trump blasted him as “incompetent”.
Trump’s two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, as well as Eric’s wife, Lara Trump, met with Republican National Committee leadership on Thursday to express their dissatisfaction with the party’s defense of the President, and plan a path ahead for the 2018 mid-term and 2020 presidential elections. Although his sister Ivanka is typically regarded as a moderating influence on the administration, Donald Jr. is closely aligned with anti-establishment elements of the Trump movement, such as Infowars’ Mike Cernovich. Given this, as well as Donald Jr.’s heavy involvement as a high profile surrogate in the Gianforte race, it is apparent that the more ambitious son of the President is attempting to expand his political influence. Lara, an associate of outspoken former Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, is reportedly taking a leading role with Trump’s campaign arm, which is being pioneered by Pierson and Trump’s longtime digital strategist Brad Parscale, a member of r/The_Donald, the online message board community popular with Trump’s core base.
Things are looking similarly good on the national security front as well. Bannon associate and foreign policy aide Sebastian Gorka was saved from being fired through a personal intervention by President Trump earlier this month, according to the Daily Beast.
Even former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, another Cernovich ally, may be able to make a comeback bid. Trump is said to remain extremely close to the controversial general, and is reportedly considering bringing him back after the conclusion of the ongoing FBI investigation into his communications with Russia. The current National Security Advisor, Henry McMaster, appears to have a tenuous relationship with Trump, having managed to make enemies of both the Bannon nationalist and Kushner Goldman Sachs liberal factions in the White House. Although it still remains unlikely that Flynn will be able to take back his job, it is not improbable that McMaster could be replaced with a Flynn ally such as Keith Kellogg further down the line.