White House strategist Steve Bannon, who was best known as executive chair of Breitbart News before becoming CEO of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, has now hired one of House Speaker Paul Ryan's personal trolls as a White House staffer.
Right-wing commentator Julia Hahn, who will serve as an aide to Bannon as he fulfills his role of White House strategist, has accused Ryan of fleeing "grieving moms trying to show him photos of their children killed by his open borders agenda" and claimed that he was secretly leading a "months-long campaign to elect Hillary Clinton," according to The Washington Post on Monday.
"She’ll be Bannon’s Bannon and make Bannon look moderate," said conservative writer and editor at large of the Weekly Standard William Kristol when talking to The Post. "Her tendency is to fight and fight, often to the extreme."
The Post also claims that "a number of House Republicans" confided to the newspaper that they believe Bannon's hiring of Hahn is a sign that he could go on the attack against them if they defy Trump's will.
"This is obviously a provocative act and clearly an intentional act," said Peter Wehner, an official who has worked for three Republican presidents and is a personal friend of Ryan's. "Bannon is willing to napalm the bridges with congressional Republicans." He also added that many Republican congressmen are making the mistake of believing that "Bannon and Trump aren’t taken seriously even though Bannon and Trump are operating in a serious way and bringing on people who are going to work for their cause, not for conservatives."
By contrast, former education secretary William J. Bennett, who is also close to Ryan, told the Post that "my sense is that Trump has a good feeling these days toward Ryan and that the feeling is mutual. I’m hopeful those feelings will continue." Similarly, Ryan's spokesman Brendan Buck insisted that Ryan "could not care less" about Hahn's hiring.
Steve Bannon's tenure at Breitbart was marred by the site's increasingly racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT, and anti-Islamic tone. Trump's decision to give Bannon a key White House role has led many to fear that the white nationalist movement known as the alt right will have dangerous sway under his presidency.