Unwavering Trump voters say they will not
miss Steve Bannon
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[August 21, 2017]
By Robert Chiarito
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Former White House
chief strategist Steve Bannon's firing has been met with a collective
shrug by some of President Donald Trump's most committed supporters who
argue the controversial nationalist became an obstacle to the
In interviews in multiple cities this weekend, Americans who voted for
Trump said Bannon's departure on Friday was the removal of an
unnecessary distraction for the Trump presidency, while others saw his
role as largely inconsequential and possibly overblown.
Many expected Trump to stay the course without him.
"Bannon was becoming too big of a story and taking the spotlight from
President Trump," Bob Janda, a 67-year-old small business owner, said in
a bar in Chicago. "When that happens, your days are numbered. I think
Trump will be fine."
At the same bar, Frank Cardone, 67, pointed out that Bannon had a brief
tenure in Trump's inner circle, having joined the Republican
businessman's presidential campaign as its chief executive less than
three months before the Nov. 8 election.
"Bannon wasn't with Trump for too long so it's no big loss," said
Cardone, a retired electrician.
Before hitching himself to Trump, Bannon was the executive chairman of
Breitbart News, a hard-right site. He immediately returned to that role
after his exit from the White House, vowing to use it as a platform to
Bannon, 63, has touted Breitbart as a conservative counterpoint to what
he views as the liberal bias of U.S. news outlets and a platform for the
so-called alt-right, a loose confederation of neo-Nazis, white
supremacists and anti-Semites.
He played a key role in some of Trump's most contentious policy moves
including the travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations,
departure from the Paris climate accord and rejection of the
Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Bannon's exit gives Trump a chance to distance himself from "fringe"
politics, said Mike Corbitt, a machinist from Florida's West Palm Beach.
[to top of second column]
White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon arrives for a a joint
news conference between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S.
President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in
Washington, U.S., March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
"He (Trump) needs to be more center-right because the far right and
the far left is not where America is," Corbitt, 48, said at a Fort
Lauderdale bar. "Steve Bannon was great for getting Trump elected,
but now the president needs someone who can get his policies
Bannon joined a string of senior officials who have left the Trump
administration in the past five weeks, leading to the appointment of
retired Marine general John Kelly as the new White House chief of
While some observers have characterized the moves as a sign of chaos
in the White House, others see it as a sign that Trump is running
his administration like a well-oiled corporation.
"All these shakeups mean is that Trump is doing his job," Liz
Lingafelter, a 60-year-old nurse, said in Fort Lauderdale. "He's a
businessman and is doing what's best for the organization."
That view was echoed by Rick Weatherly, a 61-year-old Denver
maintenance technician. "I voted for Trump, not Bannon," he said.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Robert
Chiarito in Chicago, Keith Coffman in Denver and Scott Malone in
Boston; Writing by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Paul Simao)
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