One's the foul-mouthed right-wing populist whose website essentially created the nativist ideology that got Donald Trump elected. The other is the smooth-faced scion of a scandal-tinged real estate empire who got where he is today thanks to being the president's son-in-law. And apparently, they don't get along.
On Thursday, the Daily Beastreported that White House adviser Steve Bannon has been going around calling fellow Trump aide Jared Kushner a "cuck" and a "globalist," and that fighting between the two has been "nonstop."
The news comes as Kushner seems to be getting a more important role in the administration and Bannon seems to be losing influence. The 36-year-old husband of Ivanka Trump is trying to make the government more efficient, just visited Iraq, and is advising the president on China. Meanwhile, yesterday the former Breitbart publisher lost his permanent spot on the National Security Council. One official told the Beast that Bannon has accused Kushner of trying to "kick him out the back door."
The particular insults that Bannon allegedly used toward Kusher are, uh, interesting. "Cuck" used to mean "cuckold," or someone who lets another man fuck his wife, but now just means "moderate Republican." On the other hand "globalist" is often used to tar anyone who believes in a multi-cultural society, immigration, or international institutions.
This is just one of many, many stories about how chaotic and paranoid the government under Trump has become. Also on Thursday, Politico reported that federal agencies were being chewed up by a "civil war" between Trump loyalists and Establishment Republicans. "Backbiting is further paralyzing federal agencies, which have been hamstrung by slow hiring, disorganization, and an overall lack of direction since Trump's inauguration," Politico wrote.
Bannon wouldn't comment on the Beast story, but just the fact that his aides are leaking that sort of information to the media—even if it's not true—is a pretty good indicator of what life in the White House is like.
It doesn't seem like Kushner is necessarily the only person to blame for Bannon's waning influence. As the New York Times reported, Trump is apparently pissed by repeated suggestions that "President Bannon" is really in charge in the West Wing. But the Bannon-Kushner war is probably about policy. Kushner, who was a Democratic donor before Trump ran for office, is viewed by Bannon as an obstacle to achieving his right-wing ideological vision.
"There's tension [between them] on trade, health care, immigration, taxes, [terrorism]—you name it," an official told the Beast.
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