Will the New York Moderates Rule the World?

by Rich Lowry

It’s been apparent for a while now that Trump could turn to the New York moderates around him to run the White House. We aren’t there yet — the policy on issues like immigration, environment, and criminal justice is still conservative/populist — but everything that has happened the last couple of weeks suggest that this is the drift. Jared’s growing portfolio, Ivanka’s White House job, and the latest news on Bannon all point this way. There had been rumors a week or so that Bannon had threatened to quit, which show up in the New York Times story today:

In a move that was widely seen as a sign of changing fortunes, Mr. Trump removed Mr. Bannon, his chief strategist, from the National Security Council’s cabinet-level “principals committee” on Wednesday. The shift was orchestrated by Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, who insisted on purging a political adviser from the Situation Room where decisions about war and peace are made.

Mr. Bannon resisted the move, even threatening at one point to quit if it went forward, according to a White House official who, like others, insisted on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Mr. Bannon’s camp denied that he had threatened to resign and spent the day spreading the word that the shift was a natural evolution, not a signal of any diminution of his outsize influence.

And here is a bit on the tension with a leader of the moderate faction, Gary Cohn:

Mr. Bannon has also been at odds with Gary Cohn, the president’s national economics adviser. Mr. Cohn is close with Mr. Kushner, who has said privately that he fears that Mr. Bannon plays to the president’s worst impulses, according to people with direct knowledge of such discussions.

Who knows were this ends up, but the more turbulence there is in the early-going, the more it has to aid an ultimate take-over by the New York moderates.

UPDATE:

This Politico story has more:

Five people, including a senior administration official and several sources close to the president, tell Politico that Steve Bannon, one of Trump’s closest advisers, has clashed with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who’s taken on an increasingly prominent portfolio in the West Wing. Bannon has complained that Kushner and his allies are trying to undermine his populist approach, the sources said….

Bannon has also butted heads with Kushner, the president’s senior adviser, who considers him an ideologue whose advice to Trump is making it harder for the president to win popular support for his agenda, according to people familiar with the dynamic.

The tension between the two is indicative of a larger power struggle in the White House as Kushner’s prominence and responsibility have ballooned. He has helped to expand the authority of two senior West Wing officials who, like him, are less ideological in nature: former Goldman Sachs executives Gary Cohn, who is now chairman of the National Economic Council, and Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser for strategy. The national security directive removing Bannon from the NSC explicitly authorized Powell to attend the National Security Council’s Principals’ and Deputies’ Committee meetings.

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