US President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly called Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner a “cuck” and a “globalist,” two derogatory terms popular with the alt-right, the latter with anti-Semitic connotations.
Quoting several unnamed administration officials, The Daily Beast reported Thursday that the two top aides, who belong to different camps in the White House, have been fighting and clashing “non-stop,” often in face-to-face confrontations.
One administration official said Bannon “recently vented to us about Jared being a ‘globalist’ and a ‘cuck’… He actually said ‘cuck,’ as in “cuckservative,’” a term often used on social media and generally online by the alt-right, a political movement, coined by white nationalist Richard Spencer, composed loosely of anti-establishment conservatives who also have white nationalists, extreme right ideologues, anti-Semites and some strident defenders of Israel within its ranks.
Bannon, a former executive chairman of the Breitbart News website, once said the media company was a “platform for the alt-right.”
Cuck, short for “cuckold” and/or “cuckservative” is an insult used by conservatives against opponents they deem weak or having “sold out.” Spencer once said the term is “a certain kind of contempt for mainstream conservatives.”
And “globalist” is also a term used by nationalists to attack opponents; when paired with “media,” it becomes an attack rooted in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the press, much like “international bankers” in these circles usually alludes to Jews controlling finances, banks and so on.
Bannon has been a self-described “nationalist,” especially in economic terms and has said he is in favor of bringing “everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
“There’s a big fight [going on],” one senior official told the Daily Beast. “It’s all about policy. There’s tension [between them] on trade, health care, immigration, taxes, [terrorism] — you name it.”
“Steve thinks Jared is worse than a Democrat, basically,” another official close to Bannon said, according to the report. “[Steve] has a very specific vision for what he believes, and what he shares [ideologically] with Trump. And he has for a long time now seen [Jared] as a major obstacle to achieving that.”
According to numerous reports in the American media, the rival aides lead two opposing camps in the White House; Bannon, along with chief of staff Reince Preibus and aide Stephen Miller head the “nationalist camp” — pushing the Muslim travel ban, the failed healthcare bill and so on — and Kushner who along with his wife Ivanka Trump, and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn lead the more “liberal,” New York camp, advocating moderation.
On Wednesday, Trump removed Bannon from the National Security Council, reversing an earlier, controversial decision to give Bannon access to the group’s high-level meetings, while Kushner has appeared to gain power and responsibilities. His wife Ivanka, Trump’s daughter, also recently took on an official role in the White House.
According to The New York Times reporting on Bannon’s demotion, “Bannon’s Svengali-style reputation has chafed on a president who sees himself as the West Wing’s only leading man,” and “several associates said the president had quietly expressed annoyance over the credit Mr. Bannon had received for setting the agenda — and Mr. Trump was not pleased by the ‘President Bannon’ puppet-master theme promoted by magazines, late-night talk shows and Twitter.”
In February, Saturday Night Live opened with a skit depicting Bannon as the “Grim Reaper” who was now really in charge of the White House, manipulating Alec Baldwin’s Trump to pick fights with world leaders and sow chaos. In the sketch, “Trump” calls “Bannon” Mr. President and when finishing up his calls, sits at a smaller desk and plays with children’s toys.
The skit, and others like it, are said to have infuriated Trump.