Joshua Green, author of Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising, is speaking out in a New Yorker interview in the wake of Bannon being indicted for fraud.
Ironically, Green was out in a boat in the middle of a lake when he looked at his phone blowing up with tweets saying "Holy f*ck, Bannon!"
"I knew the moment had arrived when he had stepped in it, in a big way. I think anyone who knows Bannon has been anticipating his indictment at some point, on some charge," he explained.
Green noted that given Bannon was at the center of the Trump campaign, the White House (albeit for seven months), the Mueller probe and congressional investigations. He said that at some point Bannon would get caught.
"I think the irony is that it is like busting Al Capone for tax evasion, isn’t it? That what would finally get him is this little immigration grift? But it’s not a huge surprise to me that this would be the outcome," said Green.
He recalled conversations with Bannon about the investigations that seemed to be circling and Bannon would "always rather smugly had the same line that he would go back to again and again. He would say, 'I am always smart enough not to be in the room.'"
Green explained that it was Bannon's way of saying he never gets caught because he's too clever. Obviously, that turned out not to be true.
The New Yorker asked Green about Trump running on the idea of building the wall and making Mexico pay for it, but as of today, American taxpayers are footing the bill.
"I’m not sure whether he recognizes it, but, I think, looking back at the last four years, it is pretty easy to connect the dots," said Green. "When Bannon left the White House, he had this heroic vision of himself, where he was going to marshal this slate of nationalist candidates, like Roy Moore, that was going to wreck the G.O.P. establishment. And Bannon himself had actually confided to people that he himself was thinking about running for President. He considered himself not only the brains of the operation but a successor to Trump, and instead—and this always happens—his ego blew him up."
He recalled Michael Wolff's book Fire and Fury, which quoted Bannon trashing the Trump family and that he was ostracized by Trumpworld after that, even getting fired from Breitbart.
"I think he realized pretty quickly that the star power in the Trump universe belonged to Donald Trump, not Steve Bannon," said Green. "And then I think he came to realize pretty quickly that to have any kind of influence in Republican politics, which is what Bannon really wanted, he would have to kowtow to Trump, and be seen to be in Trump’s good graces in order to get anyone to talk to him. Otherwise he was out in the wilderness."
So, instead of becoming the heir, Bannon became another lackey on Fox News.
"So, when he didn’t have a top role in the White House, when he didn’t have a top role at Breitbart News, what was left for him was to commandeer these dopey, nativist extremist groups populated with shady characters like Kris Kobach and Curt Schilling," said Green. "And I think that when that is who you are spending your time with, it’s not a huge shock you wind up indicted."
Green further speculated that Bannon is an excellent example of what the future holds for Republican politics in wake of the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan era.
He went on to compare Bannon to the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark" when the Nazis are able to get the ark and everyone’s faces melt.
"That was Bannon," said Green. "Someone else may take it and do big things, but I think that entire class of 2016 Trumpist Republicans has fizzled out and been left for dead, and it’s up to a new generation of Republican aspirants to take the embers of that and build it into a new kind of nationalist politics, which is what I think is going to happen after Trump. I guess we will have to see. But I don’t think Bannon will be any part of that."