After Michael Wolff’s new book reported ex-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon as saying the now-famous Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a host of Russian nationals peddling their government’s support for the Trump campaign was “unpatriotic” and “treasonous”, the blowback from Trump loyalists was immediate and harsh. Rebekah Mercer very publicly pulled the plug on the billionaire family’s support for Bannon’s omnipresent shenanigans, and an internal debate began at Bannon’s Breitbart “News” site on whether to oust him from that organization.
But Steve Bannon himself remained conspicuously silent, as his world appeared to crumble around him. He’s attempting to remedy that now with a statement obsequiously kissing Donald Trump Jr.’s ass.
“Donald Trump Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around. […]
“My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr. […]
“I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr. has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”
Notably absent from this shoe-shining: any mention of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, another attendee of the Trump Tower meeting. Any walkback of Bannon’s assertions that the Russia investigation will eventually reveal money laundering and that prosecutors would “crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV.” A reversal of Bannon’s statement that the chance Don Jr. did not immediately introduce their Russian guests to Donald Trump himself were “zero.”
So Bannon’s efforts here seem to be aimed single-mindedly at buffing Donald Trump Jr., while doing little to nothing to distance himself from the book-reported statements that threaten to upend his career. It may be that the Mercer family made it clear that it was the attack on Trump Jr., specifically, that they would not tolerate; it may be that this is Bannon’s first attempt at saving his own hide (or, at least, his revenue stream) and that others will be rolled out in the coming days.
But so far Bannon’s going with the theory that it may or may not have been “treasonous” for the already-indicted Paul Manafort to meet with the Russians, but it wasn’t Don Jr.’s fault because Don Jr. was too inexperienced and un-“seasoned” to suss that out. All right then.