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Bannon Goes To War Against Trump - Turns On President In Unexpected Way

Steve Bannon, the White House strategist that President Trump fired last week, is accusing his former boss of a “flip-flop” on the nation’s policy concerning Afghanistan.

Bannon, back at his old job of running the conservative Breitbart News, reacted angrily to the president’s announcement Monday night that additional troops would be deployed to the Middle Eastern country. The former administration staffer, who helped craft Trump’s nationalist campaign message, had been one of those in the president’s inner circle who wanted the United States to end its 16-year occupation of Afghanistan.

A Breitbart article featured the headline “Trump Reverses Course; Will Send More Troops to Afghanistan.” The next line on the web page stated: “Defends Flip-Flop in Somber Speech.” In another story, Breitbart proclaimed: “Donald Trump Echoes Obama ‘Blank Check’ Rhetoric in Afghanistan Speech.” According to the Daily Mail, the news site’s decision to mention the former president was no accident. Trump is known for disliking any comparisons to Obama. A third Breitbart article about the new strategy for Afghanistan asked sarcastically: “America First?”

Bannon appears to be honoring the threat he made upon leaving the White House, when he vowed to “go to war” against the president. He is upset with what he sees as the administration’s drift away from the isolationist approach to foreign policy that Trump advocated on the campaign trail. Bannon has indicated he will challenge the “globalist” views of Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, who is an unofficial adviser to the president; Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and paid White House staffer; and H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser. All three reportedly support the shift in Afghanistan policy.

Breitbart was not surprised by the president’s speech. In an article the site posted beforehand, Blackwater chief Erik Prince predicted that Trump would “roll over and accept the same failed strategy.” A number of political pundits also expected the administration to change gears in the war once Bannon was gone. Throughout his campaign, Trump promised he would bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan to end the bloodshed and free up money for domestic needs. Even after taking office, he continued to criticize the war. A top White House official told reporters that the president once asked his national-security staff, “What are we doing there?”

While Trump did not reveal how many additional troops he plans to deploy, other government officials say the number will be 3,600. About 8,400 armed-services personnel are already assigned to the conflict, which has claimed thousands of American lives.

Trump explained that he changed his mind about the strategy after consulting with military leaders, who strongly opposed U.S. withdrawal from the region. The president cited national security and the so-called “war on terrorism.” He warned that pulling out of Afghanistan would leave a power vacuum for the Taliban or other extremist groups to exploit. “This is not about nation-building again,” Trump declared. “We are killing terrorists.”

Some of the president’s supporters apparently do not agree with his policy shifts, as evidenced by recent national polls. Trump’s approval rating has plunged lower than 40 percent.

Source: Daily Mail
Ron Sachs/Pool, Breitbart

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