American Prospect editor: I’m honored Bannon chose me for ‘self-immolation’

August 20, 2017

Bob Kuttner felt a distinct sense of honor Sunday as the press remained in hyper Bannon analysis mode.

The frequently sleepy days of August predictably morphed into Trump-inspired musings about the departure of Steven Bannon as top White House strategist. In the early Trump administration, there are precious few quiet periods, even as the holiday-filled end of summer beckons.

“Bannon’s departure is unlikely to calm the turmoil in Trump’s White House” was the most prominent Washington Post story during the morning.

“Will Bannon’s White House agenda survive without him?” asked The New York Times in its counterpart prominent saga at the top of its site.

There were lots of folks weighing in on various media. So I shot an email to Kuttner, a co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, whose unexpected phone chat with Bannon was the coup de grace in his brief White House tenure.

Bannon exited Friday and seamlessly returned to Breitbart News, which he’d run prior to joining the Trump campaign a year ago.

“The question is whether Bannon can both keep his kitchen cabinet role as a back-channel confidante of Trump and also have Breitbart kick the hell out of Trump as an incipient globalist,” Kuttner said.

“My conversation may have been the last straw but he was in the process of doing himself in,” Kuttner added. “I’m honored that he chose me for his final self-immolation.”

As for Breitbart itself, it relied on a Daily Mail claim that Ivanka Trump was a key mover and shaker behind Bannon’s downfall.

Perhaps. But there’s no doubt that, as with Anthony Scaramucci’s lethal late-night call to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, Bannon’s outreach to Kuttner was an important coda to his turbulent White House tenure.