Steve Bannon vs White House: Who Will Trump's Former Adviser Target First?

Bannon and H.R. McMaster
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and former presidential strategist Steve Bannon arrive for a joint press conference with President Donald Trump at the White House on April 12. McMaster convinced Trump to remove Bannon from the National Security Council and recently refused to directly answer questions on whether he could keep working with him. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

"#War," tweeted Breitbart editor Joel Pollack as news of Steve Bannon's departure from the White house broke Friday.

With Bannon now returning to his position leading the far-right news website, Breitbart is expected to turn its ire on the opponents of his nationalist agenda in the White House.

Bannon, Kushner
Steve Bannon, left, and Jared Kushner, right, listen as President Donald Trump meets with members of his Cabinet at the White House on June 12. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

A Breitbart source told Axios the site would go "thermonuclear " on the "globalists" in the White House it believes to be behind Bannon's departure.

"It will be Bannon the barbarian," a person close to the populist firebrand told CNN. "He's not going to go out peacefully."

In an interview with the conservative Weekly Standard, Bannon confirmed the reports: "Now I'm free. I've got my hands back on my weapons," he said.

"Someone said: 'It's Bannon the Barbarian.' I am definitely going to crush the opposition. There's no doubt. I built a f-cking machine at Breitbart. And now I'm about to go back, knowing what I know, and we're about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do."

Axios reported that Bannon had met hedge fund billionaire and Breitbart backer Robert Mercer to plot their next moves.

So who are the officials in Bannon's crosshairs?

During his time as Trump's chief strategist Bannon repeatedly clashed with Jared Kushner, Trump's adviser and son-in-law.

According to reports in April, Bannon called Kushner a "globalist" and a "cuck," or "cuckservative," an insult for a centrist conservatives that emerged on alt-right messaging boards.

Kushner was one of a number of officials who successfully pushed for Bannon's ousting from the National Security Council, but Bannon took his revenge by persuading Trump to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate deal.

Other members of the so-called New York faction who joined the Kushners in colonizing Washington after Trump's victory are also likely to find themselves targeted by Bannon's Breitbart.

The dispute centers on trade. The New York faction back global free trade, while Bannon's back an economic nationalist agenda.

They include Dina Powell, a deputy national security adviser, and economic adviser Gary Cohn. Alt-right activist Mike Cernovich told Vanity Fair that Bannon especially disliked former investment banker Cohn, and was preparing to take revenge.

In recent weeks Breitbart and alt-right activists have attacked Trump's National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who pointedly refused to say he could work with Bannon in the White House in a recent interview.

Bannon allegedly orchestrated a campaign of leaks and smears against McMaster, after he fired several Bannon allies from the National Security Council.

Bannon's departure then could spell trouble for the "globalist" wing, but critics also argue that with Trump's "America First" political instincts chiming so perfectly with his former adviser, change may not be radical.

Michael Tyler, national press secretary of the Democratic National Committee, said on Friday: "There is one less white supremacist in the White House, but that doesn't change the man sitting behind the Resolute desk."

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