The neoconservatives are once again emboldened after Trump’s military strike on Syria last week. Former George W. Bush advisor Elliott Abrams is offering some unsolicited advice for President Trump: Dump Steve Bannon as chief political strategist.
“He’s not a good influence on the president,” Abrams said to a reporter during a Politico interview. He apparently smiled ear-to-ear while discussing the prospects of Bannon’s removal. Furthermore, he is a firm proponent of Jared Kushner’s increased influence in the White House. Kushner is Trump’s son-in-law and the head of the new White House Office of American Innovation.
Bannon is the populist fire-brand who led Trump’s Presidential campaign to victory in its final months last year. Kushner is an extremely wealthy socialite of the New York liberal elite with familial ties to George Soros. There was a conflict between the two advisors over the Syrian strikes with Kushner winning, much to the gleeful delight of neocons like Abrams.
“I think there was always a conflict inherent in that line about not getting involved in all of these things on the one hand and ‘Make America Great Again’ on the other, because making America great, to me, is going to require some involvement around the world,” Abrams says. “To me, this is sort of being president, and this is realizing there is an American role here that is impossible to replace.”
Abrams projects his concept of a rampantly militaristic American exceptionalism onto Trump’s mandate of “America First.” However, that is not the mandate that Trump was elected to fulfill. Trump capitalized on bureaucratic incompetence and challenged the long-standing Washington D.C. consensus on many issues, including foreign policy.
In Trump’s seminal foreign policy speech back in Apr. 2016, he said, “We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria… Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster.”
As President, Trump is rapidly winning the acclaim of the architects of that failed foreign policy such as Elliott Abrams while his non-interventionist campaign rhetoric feels like a distant, fading memory.