Donald Trump had never professionally answered to anyone but himself or his bankers before he became President of the United State. He's ruled the Trump businesses by sheer force of personality. Since his election, Trump has shown little interest in learning the ways of his new job, choosing instead to continue operating in the same old "I'm the boss" mode. The depth, breadth and responsibility accompanying the presidency appears of little interest as he transitions from running a private company to being the leader of our very public country. He remains focused on showmanship, one upmanship and retaliation to those who disagree. President Trump has positioned himself to become an empty vessel at the helm of our government.
Less than two weeks into office, we see what a man can do who has taken little time to gain substantive knowledge about anything that forms the basis for creating executive orders. He can and has wrecked havoc domestically and internationally. This is the same Donald Trump who chose not to receive Intelligence briefings during most of his transition period. Days before assuming office he described his preferred approach to learning about a subject - short briefings:
"I like bullets (points) or I like as little as possible. I don't need, you know, 200 page reports on something that can be handled on a page. That I can tell you."
Tell that to the millions of people affected by his executive orders including the immigration order, his healthcare order, his order stripping sanctuary cities of Federal money, and a hiring freeze on a swath of Federal employees.
Executive orders rule for Trump. Siging a document is something he knows. Making a public specticle of the signings is something he also knows. They feed into his comfort zone of assumed power. Sitting behind a desk is his prop of power recycled from his television program Celebrity Apprentice and his Trump Tower office. He's also recycled his "You're fired" line and brusk dismissal style when firing Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she declined to defend his Executive Order on Immigration. Trump added a dramatic phrase to describe his reasoning. The White House statement said that she "betrayed" the Department of Justice".
The starkness of the word 'betrayed' may have come from his closest advisor, Steve Bannon. This is the man who became CEO of the Trump campaign during its August internal coup. As the extremist former head of the alt-right Breitbart news site, Steve Bannon has made it clear that he walks on the dark side and thinks on the dark side. Increasingly he seems to have found a willing subject in Donald Trump to help activate his style of thinking. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says Bannon "has a great understanding of the American public and why Trump won the election, and he tells Trump about what people are really upset about and what they're really concerned about. Trump generally agrees with him."
It has become apparent that Steve Bannon has increased his clout on an almost daily basis becoming the man now closest to the President. Bannon is widely reported to be responsible for drafting President Trump's executive orders. In the latest White House power play, Trump has moved the Senior White House Advisor even closer naming Bannon to the National Security Council Principals Committee. It is the first time in history that a president's chief political strategist will have a formal seat in the Situation Room. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence have been moved out, execpt when needed. The most sensitive of decisions are made by the NSC, and many have expressed concern about the re-shuffling and Bannon's new position. With good reason.
Here are some of Steve Bannon's thoughts in his own words. It's important to repeat these statements. They have been reported in numerous media publications.
"Darkness is good. "Dick Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan. That's Power."
"We're going to build an entirely new political movement."
"The media should keep its mouth shut"
"The media bubble is the ultimate symbol of what's wrong with this country."
"I'm a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment.
We elected a President to head our government with no government experience, and whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, we're just beginning to see the impact. The White House inner circle has become even smaller with Steve Bannon's voice ringing the loudest. It's a voice that matters only as much as President Trump allows it to matter, but it is clear that Steve Bannon has become whisperer-in-chief.