WASHINGTON — President Trump’s most unconventional senior adviser, Stephen Bannon, may have left the White House, but the political turbulence that has characterized the first seven months of Trump’s presidency doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

The tenure and departure of Bannon, the president’s chief strategist and champion of his nationalist impulses, exposed deep fissures in the Trump-era Republican Party, within the White House and beyond.

Those differences are still harming Trump’s effectiveness as he tries to kick-start a sputtering legislative agenda at a time when relationships with Republican congressional leaders are seriously frayed – largely because of the president’s behavior, including his response to hate-fueled deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

While Bannon’s ouster was the latest move by new Chief of Staff John Kelly to bring a greater sense of normalcy to the White House, even some of Trump’s allies question how likely that is to take hold, particularly under a president who relishes changing the national conversation with a provocative tweet – a practice Kelly has not been able to curb.

Trump – nearing the end of a working vacation at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort – has made a habit of continuing to solicit advice from former staffers, often through late-night calls when he is no longer under the watchful eye of Kelly.

Bannon also has made clear since he left Friday that he is going to use Breitbart News, the pugilistic conservative website, to try to advance his agenda from outside the White House.


In an interview in Washington on Saturday, Bannon warned Republican leaders to enthusiastically support Trump’s priorities on taxes, trade and funding a massive border wall – or risk the wrath of the president’s base, including Breitbart, where Bannon returned Friday as executive chairman.

“If the Republican Party on Capitol Hill gets behind the president on his plans and not theirs, it will all be sweetness and light, be one big happy family,” Bannon said.

But Bannon added with a smile that he does not expect “sweetness” anytime soon – and described the turbulent political moment in the Republican Party and the country as a necessary battle over Trump’s priorities.

In a pair of tweets on Saturday, the president wished Bannon well and thanked him for his service.

“He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton – it was great!” Trump said, referring to Bannon’s role during the general election.

Several hours later, Trump predicted Bannon would be “a tough and smart new voice at BreitbartNews … maybe even better than ever before,” adding: “Fake News needs the competition!”


Several friends and former co-workers said that they expect Bannon to use the platform to attack his political opponents, including those he has derided as “globalists.”

“I think Steve is going to be more effective on the outside,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a longtime friend of Bannon. “On the outside, if you are well-funded and you are feared and you have a platform, you are going to be a power player. Steve has all of that in spades.”

Trump and Bannon associates also expect Bannon to continue to have Trump’s ear, as has been the case with some other fired staffers such as Corey Lewandowksi, Trump’s first campaign manager, who periodically shows up at the White House.

“With Donald Trump, once he likes you, you’re either in his inner orbit, or you’re in his outer orbit,” said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. “You never leave altogether.”

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