President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed widespread reports that his administration is riven by discord, saying he is sticking by his polarizing chief strategist, Steve Bannon, calling him a “very decent guy” who is getting a “bad rap.”
Trump even revealed his own term for Bannon’s ideology: “alt-left,” a play on Bannon’s ties to the nationalist conservative movement sometimes called the “alt-right”.
Why alt-left? “Bannon’s more of a libertarian than anything else, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said Monday during an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office.
Trump’s playful approach to the former chief of Breitbart News – perhaps the biggest target of liberal fury – and his other comments about his staff suggest that a widespread shakeup of his inner circle is unlikely in the near future.
He said Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus both would likely still be in their same roles several months from now, along with two other figures in his administration who have drawn withering fire: counselor Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sean Spicer.
Trump also said that Bannon and Trump’s senior adviser, son-in-law Jared Kushner, have managed to repair their relationship.
“Bannon is a very decent guy who feels very strongly about the country. Likewise, Jared. And they’re getting along fine,” Trump said, calling Kushner “a very brilliant young guy.”
But the president did acknowledge past tensions on the staff.
“We have a lot of people that are getting along well,” Trump said. “It’s coming out better now than it was, you know, for a while. And for a while it was a little testy, I guess for some of them, but I said, ‘You’ve got to get your acts together.”
Since late March, Trump has been said to be considering a shuffle of his top advisers. The whisper campaign in Washington – sometimes targeting Priebus and other times Bannon – resulted from squabbling within the inner circle and a string of setbacks for Trump’s nascent presidency.
Hey Mr. “President”, Stephen Bannon is NOT “alt-left” at all. He’s one of the leaders of the so-called “alt-right.”
Bannon’s (former) outlet, Breitbart “News”, features (or did feature) several prominent “alt-right” voices such as Milo Yiannopoulos.