Karl Rove burns Steve Bannon: "White House and the country are better off" with him gone

Rove argues that the White House is better off without Bannon and needs to start learning some political savvy

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published August 24, 2017 12:45PM (EDT)

Karl Rove (AP/Rich Pedroncelli)
Karl Rove (AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

Karl Rove, who famously served as Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, has some harsh words for Steve Bannon regarding his recent departure from Donald Trump's White House.

"Mr. Bannon is not the first staffer to believe the White House agenda must mirror his own," Rove wrote in an editorial for The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. "But no other aide in memory has had such grandiose or destructive plans for trying to remain in charge after being shown the door."

After reviewing how Trump has attacked members of his own party — from criticizing them for failing to pass an Obamacare repeal bill to singling out Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona for insults due to the senator's criticisms of the president — Rove argued that Trump's counterproductive strategy, of which Bannon was symptomatic, has caused him more harm than good.

As Rove wrote, "Memo to the White House: The worst way to strengthen a president is publicly to blame his difficulties on allies. The least effective way to pass an agenda is to threaten the president’s party in Congress."

Rove urged Trump to exercise more discipline in both promoting his agenda and garnering support for it. He praised the decision to hire John Kelly as a chief of staff who can limit "internal disorder," cited the Bush administration's relationship with then-Rep. Mike Pence as an example of how Republicans who are lost on certain issues can be won back on others and urged the hiring of a new director of the White House Office of Public Liaison.

"The White House and the country are better off with Mr. Bannon back at the website he described last year as 'the platform for the alt-right.' He will do less damage there than in the West Wing."

The man once regarded as Bush's house intellectual has criticized the Trump White House before. In June he noted that Trump "may have mastered the modes of communication, but not the substance, thereby sabotaging his own agenda." Rove also expressed concern at that time that Trump's "chronic impulsiveness is apparently unstoppable and clearly self-defeating"

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Alt Right Breitbart Donald Trump Karl Rove Steve Bannon