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‘Missing in Action’: Senior WH Officials Say Steve Bannon is ‘AWOL’

A new report from Politico details Steve Bannon’s “disappearing act”: how the White House chief strategist, once considered the most powerful man in Washington, has stepped back from his high-profile role in order to save his job.

According to Politico:

Bannon, chastened by internal rivalries and by President Donald Trump’s growing suspicion that he is looking out for his own interests, is in a self-imposed exile, having chosen to step back from Trump’s inner circle for the sake of self-preservation, according to several White House advisers who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering a colleague.

The story notes that Trump’s Warsaw speech, which bore all the hallmarks of Bannon’s nationalistic populism, was not touched by the former Breitbart CEO: it was instead drafted by speechwriter Stephen Miller, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and NSC communications aide Michael Anton (of Flight 93 Election fame).

Bannon now reportedly spends his time “camped out at the conference table in the office of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, reading the news or working on his phone, according to a senior White House aide.”

Maybe he can swap war stories with his former employee “Dr.” Seb Gorka.

Bannon is rarely seen hovering over the president, as he was in the first few months of the administration, or even attending the high-profile foreign trips the administration has embarked on — and now reportedly “plays a surprisingly minor role in key administration policy debates.”

His absence is so remarkable that senior White House officials have come to describe Bannon as “invisible,” “AWOL,” and “missing in action.” Officials said they believe Bannon is fearful of a long-rumored staff shakeup slated for August.

According to Politico, the low profile is the result of Trump’s irritation with Bannon’s “growing fame, including an appearance on the cover of Time magazine as ‘The Great Manipulator’ and a spoofing by Saturday Night Live as a Grim Reaper shadowing the president.”

“The president resented Bannon’s mythical status as the Svengali behind his improbable election, and called several reporters and television personalities complaining that Bannon was stealing credit for his victory,” Politico writes.

Nonetheless, he remains Trump’s “foul-weather friend,” and took the reigns of the administration’s response to the ever-growing Russia controversy — perhaps to his own detriment.

One Washington-based insider who recently spoke to Bannon told Politico the strategist is “falling under the weight of it.”

And one last fascinating tidbit from the piece: Trump is apparently “livid” about Joshua Green’s new book, The Devil’s Bargain, which puts the spotlight on Bannon and his “storming of the presidency.”

A Washington insider said Trump is “back to giving Bannon the cold shoulder” because of the book, and that the chief strategist is worn out: “He doesn’t look well.”

[image via screengrab]

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