Bashar al-Assad’s forces appear to have used chemical weapons on Syrian civilians again; Kim Jong-un’s North Korea has fired off another intermediate-range ballistic missile; and Xi Jinping, the President of China, has arrived in the United States for a summit meeting with Donald Trump. Big news all, you might think. But inside the political bubble, the main topic of conversation and speculation at the moment is how and why Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior political adviser, got booted from the National Security Council.
Some accounts portrayed Bannon’s eviction as the housecleaning work of H. R. McMaster, the three-star Army general who replaced the controversial Michael Flynn as Trump’s national-security adviser. Bannon himself tried to suggest that he had only been on the N.S.C. in the first place to keep an eye on Flynn. But there may well be more to the story than that. On Wednesday, the Times reported that “blunders by Mr. Bannon’s team—especially the first immigration order, which was rejected by multiple courts—have undermined his position” in the White House. The Times story goes on:
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.