Steve Bannon, the ex-Breitbart publisher who became the CEO of Donald Trump’s campaign and his chief White House strategist, is quietly pulling the strings.
Two weeks ago, when President Trump tweeted an unfounded accusation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his Manhattan residence and called him a “bad (or sick) guy,” he was quickly denounced by media pundits and members of Congress from both parties, who then demanded Trump provide proof of his spurious claims. As of this writing, he has still refused to back up his statements. However, Bannon has been busy the whole time enacting his plan to effectively destroy the government.
Bannon’s goal, as he told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), is the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” referring to the system of taxes, regulations, international trade pacts, and agencies that make up the federal government. He later elaborated that Trump’s cabinet picks, like climate change denier Scott Pruitt to had the Environmental Protection Agency, and former Goldman Sachs partner Steve Mnuchin for the Department of the Treasury, were deliberately done to end the regulatory duties of those agencies.
That statement falls in line with a remark Bannon casually made at a party in which he described himself as a “Leninist,” saying that Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin’s goals of upending the state were his own.
“I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment,” Bannon reportedly told Daily Beast writer Ronald Radosh (he later denied ever meeting Radosh and refused all media inquiries). He added that he was coordinating Tea Party organizing for the East Coast, and that it was his express goal to elect members of Congress who would seek to destroy government institutions from the inside-out.
When fast-forwarding to a March 13 executive order President Trump recently signed, Bannon’s dreams of destroying government are coming ever closer to fruition. It’s important to note that Trump’s executive orders are drafted by both Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, often without even consulting White House attorneys, members of Congress, and other legal experts well-versed in federal bureaucracy.
The order, which calls for a “reorganizing” of the executive branch, gives Mick Mulvaney — the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget — to identify which executive agencies and offices can be cut and consolidated:
In developing the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section, the Director shall consider, in addition to any other relevant factors:
(i) whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are appropriate for the Federal Government or would be better left to State or local governments or to the private sector through free enterprise;
(ii) whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are redundant, including with those of another agency, component, or program;
(iii) whether certain administrative capabilities necessary for operating an agency, a component, or a program are redundant with those of another agency, component, or program;
(iv) whether the costs of continuing to operate an agency, a component, or a program are justified by the public benefits it provides; and
(v) the costs of shutting down or merging agencies, components, or programs, including the costs of addressing the equities of affected agency staff.
The timing of the executive order is particularly notable. Trump’s tweets about President Obama’s alleged wiretapping of his home were sent on March 4, and this order was released on March 13. This means that over the past nine days, it’s entirely possible Trump’s tweets were used as a means of distracting the American public and the media while Bannon and Miller crafted this executive order. It’s reminiscent of when the news broke that President Trump was not briefed on the executive order he signed earlier this year that put Bannon on the National Security Council.
However, subsection b of section 2 of the order includes a provision that directs Mulvaney to put suggestions from the public about the reorganization of government into the federal register, meaning that voters can contact their member of Congress and urge them to preserve the agencies that keep government accountable to the people. Click here to find your representative.
Tom Cahill is a writer for the Resistance Report based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook.