Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon is being credited by The New York Times as playing a key role in the ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
In a piece titled, “From a Capitol Hill Basement, Bannon Stokes the Republican Party Meltdown,” the Times claimed Bannon “helped create the spectacle of G.O.P. dysfunction, using it to build his own following and those of the right-wing House rebels who took down Kevin McCarthy.”
“Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida, the instigator of the rebellion, and Nancy Mace of South Carolina, one of seven other Republican defectors, huddled with Mr. Bannon for a morning meeting ahead of a joint appearance on his ‘War Room’ podcast,” the newspaper reported, noting that the GOP lawmakers “entered the cluttered sanctuary” of Bannon’s recording studio the morning after McCarthy was voted off the island.
Bannon introduced Gaetz and Mace on his podcast as the “architects and heroes of yesterday.”
“Tectonic plate shift here in the imperial capital,” Bannon told his podcast listeners Wednesday morning. “We must stand in the breach now. We have to lance the boil that is K Street in this nation.”
More from the Times:
From this cavelike studio not far from where Congress meets, Mr. Bannon, the former Trump adviser, has been stoking the chaos now gripping the Republican Party, capitalizing on the spectacle to build his own following and using his popular podcast to prop up and egg on the G.O.P. rebels.
With Mr. McCarthy’s historic downfall this week, his wing of the party has claimed its most prominent trophy.
Mr. Bannon represents a clear through line from the grievance-driven MAGA base to Congress. And his role in the meltdown that played out this week in the House helps explain why the Republican Party appears to be eating its own. He is a vital part of a feedback loop of red-meat media hits and social media posts, online fund-raising and unfettered preaching to an often angry and fervently right-wing base that rewards disruptions and detests institutions.
The article goes on to claim that for weeks Bannon “has been strategizing with Mr. Gaetz on the bid to take down Mr. McCarthy, offering himself up as a sounding board as Mr. Gaetz plotted his moves.”
The former Trump aide is painted as a direct conduit to MAGAdonians, and readers are told he “casts the agitators as heroes to his devoted MAGA acolytes, and helps boost their small-dollar fund-raising.”
Building him up further, the newspaper said Bannon actively participates in calls with Republican members and donors, offers strategic advice, and “hounds Fox News hosts who he argues don’t give them a fair shake.”
“But mostly, he offers an unfiltered platform where individual rabble-rousers can speak directly to the base, known on ‘War Room’ as ‘the posse,’ creating more incentives for them to wreak havoc on the House floor,” the Times harrumphed.
Here is the “War Room” segment featuring Gaetz and Mace: