This week, the Trump administration responded to revelations in Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury, in two ways. One of those ways was fully merited and praiseworthy; the other was counterproductive and dunderheaded. The first response came in the form of President Trump publicly disemboweling the leading leaker against Trump, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Bannon had glorified himself over Trump, attempted to pose as the head of a Trumpist “nationalist populist” movement, and suggested that actual criminal — and therefore impeachable — activity took place in Trumpworld. Trump rightly smacked Bannon with a rhetorical brick.
That made a good deal of sense: Bannon has been a net negative for the president since the election. Bannon was responsible for the utter botchery of the first travel ban rollout; he was responsible, reportedly, for Trump’s disastrous handling of the Charlottesville white supremacist rallies and murder; he spent his days on the phone with various media outlets undercutting his boss and glorifying himself.