The New York Times is reporting that Steve Bannon—political strategist, suspected auto-fellator, would-be Sith Lord—has been punted from his spot at the top of the Breitbart News hierarchy. Bannon—who’s been partially credited, mostly by himself, with orchestrating Donald Trump’s head-fucking 2016 presidential victory—has apparently, finally, earned the wrath of his long-time financial backers, the billionaire Mercer family, who are apparently A-OK with xenophobia, racism, and a steady erosion of journalistic ethics, but who draw the line at getting quoted saying mean things about Jared Kushner in a White House tell-all.
Said book, Michael Wolff’s Fire & Fury, has been a consistent headache for Bannon for more than a week now, ever since excerpts began emerging from it painting him as a former West Wing malcontent, waging a passive-aggressive war for White House power with Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Kushner. (Calling Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., “treasonous” for meeting with Russian officials during the 2016 election probably didn’t help, either.)
Bannon left his White House post late in 2017, with both sides doing their best to paint the split as amicable. (Give or take a “the Trump presidency is over” here or there.) Things soured after the book’s excerpts began making the rounds, though, with Trump resorting to his usual Twitter bully tactics—dubbing Bannon “Sloppy Steve”—to try to do some damage control on the book’s damning content. Bannon, meanwhile, has stayed quiet, thanks at least in part to a cease and desist letter Trump’s lawyers slapped him with last week. (Or maybe his mouth was just full.)
None of which appears to have done much to endear him to Rebekah Mercer, the extremely powerful conservative donor who once bankrolled many of Bannon’s projects, even making the initial introductions between him and Trump. Reportedly, Mercer was already pissed at Bannon for throwing his support behind eventual Alabama loser Roy Moore, and for mouthing off about a potential 2020 presidential run backed with Mercer money. Today’s firing—apparently at Mercer’s direct demand—suggests that that relationship is now over, much as Mercer washed her hands of Bannon’s one-time protege, Milo Yiannopoulos, back in November.
Admittedly, Steve Bannon has proven himself to be decidedly cockroach-esque in terms of his political survival abilities (and it’s not like Breitbart isn’t going to continue to work from his obnoxiously effective playbook, despite his absence.) But that was always with the backing of billions of readily available, largely unearned dollars—something he and Trump have always had in common—so we can keep our fingers crossed that his particular brand of self-described evil is about to be at least temporarily muted, if not actually wiped off the board.
UPDATE, 5:00 p.m.: According to The Daily Beast, Sirius XM says in a statement that Bannon will no longer host Breitbart’s radio show on the satellite-radio network, either.