News & Opinion | August 21, 2017 2:05 pm

Vanity Fair: Steve Bannon Declares War on White House Enemies

Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman reports on Bannon's return to Breitbart News.

Jared Kushner (R) and Steve Bannon
Jared Kushner (R) and Steve Bannon, two of President Trump's top advisers listen as U.S. Preisdent Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House June 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

Steve Bannon was ousted as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist on Friday, but he wasted no time making his next move. When a friend asked him why he sounded unfazed, Bannon replied, “Because, we’re going to war,” according to Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman, author of The Loudest Voice in the Room: Roger Ailes, Fox News and the Remaking of American Politics.

Bannon then called into an editorial meeting at Breitbart News, urging the team to continue the fight he battled while in the White House, Sherman writes. He told his staff, “We have a duty to the country to be the vanguard of ‘The Movement,’” and his new targets are Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn as well as H.R. McMaster and Dina Powell.

“He wants to beat their ideas into submission,” Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow told Sherman. “Steve has a lot of things up his sleeve.”

The biggest animosity seems to be between Bannon and Kushner, neither whom respect the other. The two constantly clashed on personnel decisions and policy debates, both international and domestic. Bannon lost many of these fights, Sherman reports. Bannon’s allies believe that Kushner built a relationship with Matt Drudge, a conservative columnist who frequently pushed anti-Bannon headlines, in the weeks leading up to Trump’s decision to oust him. They also believe Kushner encouraged Fox News host Rupert Murdoch to lobby Trump to fire Bannon because last week, the New York Times reported that Murdoch told Trump and Kushner over a private dinner that Trump needed to fire Bannon.

Bannon has plans to compete with Fox News. A Bannon adviser told Vanity Fair that television is “definitely on the table” and a partnership with Sinclair Broadcasting is a possibility.

According to several sources gathered by ShermanBannon told friends he wants Reince Priebus, who also recently departed from the White House, to give his account of the James Comey firing to special counsel Robert Mueller. According to a source close to Priebus, Bannon believes the decision to fire Comey was made during a weekend in Bedminster, when Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Stephen Miller were with the president. When Trump returned to the Oval Office, he told other aides he was going to fire Comey, Sherman reports.

Breitbart is celebrating Bannon’s return to the far-right website, Sherman reports. So far, Breitbart‘s defense of Trump has helped keep the Russia scandal from gaining traction on the right. However, Vanity Fair writes that if Trump starts to change his tune under the influence of Kushner and Cohn, and deviates too far from the positions he ran on, one high-level Breitbart staffer told Sherman“We’re prepared to help Paul Ryan rally votes for impeachment.”

Breitbart has been facing some hardship. More than 2,500 advertisers stopped advertising on the site. Sleeping Giants, a campaign group aimed at pressuring companies to cut ties with groups they deem sexist or racist, said “the number is climbing towards 2,600,” according to The Independent. There is also a petition circling for Amazon to stop advertising on the site.