When Steve Bannon returned to Breitbart News after resigning from his position as White House chief strategist last week, he brought along his reported resentment for what he considers to be the compromising influence the president’s daughter and son-in-law, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, had on White House affairs.
On August 18, Bannon departed the White House and immediately returned to Breitbart News to resume his role as executive chairman. Breitbart’s White House correspondent, Charlie Spiering, reported that Bannon had met with the publication’s editorial board just hours after his departure was announced. Since that meeting, Breitbart has displayed a new crusade against Kushner and Ivanka’s influence over President Trump, as New York Magazine reported.
The site’s recent change in tone when reporting on the couple— whom Bannon reportedly often refers to dismissively as “Javanka”—coincides with the timeline of Bannon’s arrival too close to be a coincidence. A review of prior coverage found that before Bannon’s return, Breitbart had published critical articles about Kushner sparingly and often published defensive or flattering articles about Ivanka.
But in the time since Bannon met with editorial staff, the site has published a report critiquing Kushner and Ivanka’s support for an immigration deal that would protect some undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children, ran an exclusive piece in which a Palestinian political official said meeting with Kushner would be a “waste of time,” labeled the couple “West Wing Dems,” faulted their vacations, circulated reports that Bannon’s departure was a win for the Chinese government paired with a photo of the couple, reported that the couple is regularly displeased at Trump, slammed Ivanka for supporting counter-protesters at a Boston Alt-Right rally, and aggregated a since-contested article that alleged Ivanka contributed to Bannon’s ousting. “Breitbart News Daily” radio guest host Raheem Kassam furthered the attack this morning by comparing the couple’s influence on Trump to a devil on his shoulder.
“It seems that there is sort of a Bannon-esque Trump, which may just be Trump-Trump as far as I’m concerned. And then there’s a ‘Javanka’ Trump,” Kassam said. “It’s sort of like the devil and the angel on the shoulder situation at the moment.”
The New York Times reported that Bannon often shared his resentment for Ivanka with White House colleagues and “made little secret of the fact that he believed ‘Javanka,’ as he referred to the couple behind their backs, had naïve political instincts and were going to alienate Mr. Trump’s core coalition of white working-class voters.”
Bannon also told the Weekly Standard that he felt “jacked up” after leaving the White House and that he would “crush the opposition” to his vision of a Trump presidency with the “fucking machine” he built at Breitbart. And a leaked email exchange between an internet prankster posing as Bannon and Breitbart editorial staff revealed that his staff is more than willing to smear Democrats and White House officials thought to be moderating influences on Trump.
The timing of Breitbart’s attacks on Kushner and Ivanka and Bannon’s fear that the couple will isolate Trump’s voter base make it clear that Bannon returned to the site to destroy any person who attempts to compromise the White House that Breitbart built.