You wouldn’t know it from the media coverage, but President Trump is emerging from the furor over Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” as the winner. For all the seemingly damaging headlines coming out of Stephen K. Bannon’s disclosures to Wolff, the book represents a political victory for Trump, one that could improve his party’s prospects heading into the midterm elections.
The reasoning underlying this counterintuitive conclusion is simple: Trump’s disavowal of Bannon, his former campaign chief executive and White House strategist, and Bannon’s ensuing contrition, reminds fractious Republicans that this is Trump’s party now. Political leaders must be either feared or loved. Trump showed that he should be feared by his rivals. This demonstration will help hold together the nascent congressional consensus that formed around the Trump agenda late last year after months of grumbling and inaction. The burgeoning sense of the possible and the politically necessary facilitated a long-sought tax bill that included a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate.
For Bannon, receiving a public excoriation at the hands of the president he once served must be excruciating. But for the president, it is liberating and politically beneficial.
Read the rest at the Washington Post.