Washington (CNN)No matter what President Donald Trump says now, Steve Bannon knows him better than just about anybody.
Steve Bannon knows groveling is his only hope now
And so Bannon knows that the best possible route into Trump's good graces -- after a falling-out over quotes Bannon provided to author Michael Wolff for his book "Fire and Fury" -- is groveling, pure and simple.
That's exactly what Bannon did in a statement Sunday in which he apologized to Donald Trump Jr. and reiterated his total and complete support for the President and his agenda.
Here are the three key bits:
Wolff quotes Bannon as saying that the July 2016 meeting Don Jr. attended at Trump Tower was "treasonous" and should have been reported to the FBI immediately. (Don Jr. was one of three top Trump campaign officials who were at the meeting with several Russians who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.)
Attacking Trump Jr. is one of the biggest no-no's in Trumpworld -- right after attacking the big boss himself. And so, Bannon recants -- later citing, weirdly, his "experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines" -- and totally reverses course in terms of his broader opinion on Don Jr..
This is Bannon showing that he not only talks the talk on Trump but also walks the walk. In his groveling, subtlety goes out the window. This line, for example, is a little on the nose: "I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breech for this President's efforts to make America great again."
Here's something to think about: Bannon is apologizing for his "delay" in offering a response to the "inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr." But what inaccurate reporting is he talking about? Bannon has never said -- not in his past statements nor in this one -- that he didn't tell Wolff that the meeting at Trump Tower was "treasonous." So what, exactly, is Bannon saying Wolff misreported about his comments about Don Jr.? And if Wolff didn't misreport Bannon's comments, then what is Bannon apologizing for exactly?
Of course, I am overthinking it. The simple fact is that Bannon is running scared -- knowing that much of his professional life depends on not being enemy #1 of the president. And, he knows that the most tried and true way back into Trump's good graces is total flattery.
Word out of the White House is that Bannon's apology hasn't sated Trump, that it is too little, too late.
"I don't believe there's any way back for Mr. Bannon at this point," deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said on Monday afternoon en route to Nashville with the President.
But remember that Trump's grudges aren't like other peoples' grudges. He holds them until he decides he doesn't want to anymore or that it is politically advantageous -- or good TV -- for him to end the grudge.
Need evidence? Guess who flew to Tennessee on Air Force One today with President Trump? None other than "Liddle Bob Corker," the Tennessee Republican senator who repeatedly raised questions about Trump's mental stability and fitness for office last year.
How did the two reconcile? Corker reversed course and voted for Trump's tax cut bill and the two commiserated over the alleged "fake news" surrounding the Tennessee senator's motivation for his flip flop.
Bannon's apology is his hope he can follow that same Corker character arc with Trump.