In December, many congressional Republicans excoriated Breitbart Executive Chairman Bannon after his fielding of right-wing anti-establishment Senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama — who beat Republican incumbent Luther Strange in the primaries — led to a victory for the Democratic contender Doug Jones.
Still, winning any majority for the Democrats will not be easy. Although the party needs only two more seats for control of the Senate, 23 of the 33 senators up for re-election are Democrats, making them vulnerable. Two are independents who caucus with the Democrats, and only eight are Republicans.
Additionally, Republican leadership in Congress may welcome the split, as it could give them an opportunity to steer Trump in a direction that is more favorable to their mainstream conservative agenda.
The spat between Trump and Bannon slashes an alliance that helped galvanize the president’s Republican base during his election. Bannon was a staunch Trump backer from the early days of the campaign, and is credited with pushing ethno-nationalism and populism onto the forefront of national politics.
Some observers, however, are questioning the veracity of Bannon’s accusations in “Fire and Fury,” with many calling him an opportunist and a self-promoter, skeptical of how much stock to put in his words. Bannon may also try to make amends — on Wednesday night he praised Trump on his Breitbart radio show, calling him “a great man.”