- - Wednesday, January 3, 2018


The Democrats are supposed to be the fighting party, preferring a brawl to a tea party. When Mr. Dooley was caught with a pair of brass knuckles, he explained that he was on his way to a Democratic unity meeting. Donald Trump could teach Mr. Dooley, and his creator Peter Finley Dunne, a thing or two about invective served with a brass-knuckle sandwich.

Steve Bannon, who earlier had described the president’s son, Don Jr., and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” for taking a meeting with the wrong Russian, got his reply Wednesday from the president he once served. His answer to Mr. Bannon is immune to tuning and tweaking. The president said enough. Mr. Bannon learned that when you call a man’s son a traitor, and his daughter “dumb as a brick,” you better duck.

Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” Mr. Trump said. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating 17 candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican Party.

“Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself.

Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.

“We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.”

The president left nothing for the pundits to say (unless it’s to say “I wish I had written that”). Not since Harry Truman put a music critic of The Washington Post in his place for criticizing his daughter’s singing (and threatened to kick him in a place no man wants to be kicked), has a president so eloquently risen to his family’s defense.

No man can look so cheap as when he turns on his benefactor. Steve Bannon has been a fly in the White House ointment, burr under the saddle of the Donald’s horse (pick your metaphor), and the president is entitled to feel liberated from the consequences of choosing the wrong friend, if that’s what Mr. Bannon ever was.

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