Steve Bannon isn’t a huge Mitch McConnell fan. We know this.
But, what Bannon, who until last month was a senior strategist to President Donald Trump, said about the Senate majority leader – and House Speaker Paul Ryan – on Monday night in Alabama was over-the-top even for Bannon.
Here’s a sampling:
- “Mitch McConnell and this permanent political class is the most corrupt and incompetent group of individuals in this country. They think you’re a pack of morons. They think you’re nothing but rubes. They have no interest at all in what you have to say, what you have to think or what you want to do.”
- “I told (Trump) I was going to go after the establishment, go after the establishment first and the Democrats later. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have allowed three investigative committees on Capitol Hill with full subpoena power, they’re going after President Trump every day.”
- “Mitch McConnell … Karl Rove, all the instruments that tried to destroy Roy Moore and his family: Your day of reckoning is coming.”
The backdrop for Bannon’s comments was a rally for Roy Moore, the former Alabama state Supreme Court justice who is running in Tuesday’s special election runoff for the unexpired term of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Moore’s opponent is appointed Sen. Luther Strange, who has the endorsement of Trump, McConnell and virtually every member of the GOP’s political establishment.
Strange’s allies – led by a McConnell-aligned super PAC – have dumped more than $9 million into the race to boost the incumbent, who finished second behind Moore in the August GOP primary.
Bannon is known for his bluster and for grandiose verbiage describing the stakes of, well, everything. He’s also known to loathe the Republican political establishment – a view that led him to ally with Trump long before anyone knew the real estate mogul was serious about running for president in 2016.
What’s clear from Bannon’s comments on Monday night, however, is that he doesn’t believe the war against his own party ended with Trump’s election. He thinks it’s only just begun.
Bannon said as much. “I told (Trump) I was going to go after the establishment, go after the establishment first and the Democrats later,” he told the crowd. (A question: Did Trump bless that approach?)
Think about this: The former top political strategist for the Republican President of the United States called the two top Republicans in Congress “the most corrupt and incompetent group of individuals in this country.” He added that they are “going after President Trump every day.” And, most ominously, Bannon promised McConnell and former Bush White House political Svengali Rove that “your day of reckoning is coming.”
Imagine for a second if David Axelrod, who held a similar role in Barack Obama’s White House, not only campaigned against the president’s chosen candidate in a primary but also savaged Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi – and told them their day of reckoning was coming.
It would be a MASSIVE story – and rightly so.
Because we have been so inoculated to the oddities of every day in the Trump administration, there’s a tendency to just skip over Bannon’s comments. We shouldn’t. A prominent member of Trump’s inner circle is blasting the top leaders of his party and promising retribution.
That’s a big deal with real implications for Trump’s already-fraught relationship with his party in Congress.