Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon is getting attention from some in the media who are eager to suggest he is influential in the quest to find a replacement for former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). This comes after the New York Times claimed Bannon played a key role in McCarthy’s ouster and is more relevant than ever.
On his podcast Tuesday, Bannon urged his followers to call their representatives in Congress and voice their opposition to U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) being elected speaker, calling him a “watered-down version” of McCarthy — Scalise was selected by a majority of Republican lawmakers over U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) as their choice.
“Steve Scalise is just a watered-down version, a not quite as slick version of Kevin McCarthy,” Bannon insisted. “Completely owned by the lobbyists. It’s just D.C. cartel with a less slick front porch. It cannot happen. It would be a disastrous speakership.”
“It’s completely open today because Scalise is not going to get there and I think you’re going to see mounting — more mounting opposition,” he said of the speaker’s race.
Bannon added, “We cannot have anybody that represents the D.C. insider cartel, and that’s Steve Scalise. He just keeps a lower profile.”
Turns out, Scalise withdrew his name as a candidate to replace former McCarthy Thursday night after failing to secure enough support from the House GOP conference to take his bid to the floor for a vote.
“I just shared with my colleagues that I’m withdrawing my name as a candidate for the speaker designee,” Scalise told reporters. “If you look at over the last few weeks, if you look at where our conference is, there’s still work to be done. Our conference still has to come together and is not there.”
As the party tries to identify a candidate capable of getting the needed 217 votes to become speaker the media reports on the GOP “chaos,” eager to pin it on former President Donald Trump.
And that’s where Bannon comes into play.
“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,” the Times reported last week.
“Mr. Bannon represents a clear through line from the grievance-driven MAGA base to Congress,” the newspaper added. “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.”