The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board blamed senior White House aide Stephen Bannon for chaos in the West Wing, arguing that the top Trump ally’s loyalty to the president is in question after his supporters vilified Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster.
In an editorial Tuesday night, the conservative paper trashed the White House chief strategist for using his allies in the far-right media to disrupt the White House in favor of his own personal goals.
Citing the statement of support that Trump issued for McMaster last week, the paper writes that Trump’s new chief of staff, John Kelly, should watch Bannon closely.
“Rather than question the general’s loyalties, perhaps Mr. Kelly should question Mr. Bannon’s,” the Journal wrote. “The former Breitbart publisher has been a White House survivor, but his warring habits have also been responsible for much of the White House dysfunction.”
In particular, the Journal questioned “the alt-right brigades who seem to rise up as if on call to smite some White House policy opponent of aide Steve Bannon.”
“Trump may worry about the damage Mr. Bannon and his allies could do to his administration if he is no longer part of the White House team,” the Journal argued. “But if his minions continue to vilify his colleagues inside the White House, how can anyone tell the difference?”
Last Friday, Trump was forced to release a statement praising McMaster amid mounting criticism on the right, as well as a viral #FireMcMaster hashtag campaign on Twitter.
“He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country,” Trump said Friday.
The Journal concluded the editorial by questioning how much Trump would let his advisers brawl in public and the news media.
“The issue for Mr. Kelly — and Mr. Trump — is what to do when disagreement inside the White House turns into vilification of his staff from the outside,” the Journal added.
McMaster joined the Trump administration in February, following the exit of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.