Hiding in plain sight
Steve Bannon and his populist agenda can be elusive at times. For every accusation of white nationalist policy (building a wall with Mexico, banning Muslims from traveling to the United States) there is a semiplausible rebuttal with rumors of seemingly progressive economic notions, such as protecting American workers from bad trade deals and supporting a massive infrastructure agenda.
Well, now we know exactly what’s on Bannon’s checklist for President Donald Trump.
That’s because a guest to the White House tweeted out a photo of himself meeting with Trump’s senior adviser. In the photo, posted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, is a clearly visible whiteboard in the background that literally has Bannon’s to-do list spelled out—including the little checkmarks next to the agenda items he apparently considered accomplished.
So, what is the real agenda?
First, it’s broken into sections titled “pledges,” such as “Pledges On Obamacare,” “Pledges on Immigration,” and “Pledges on Trade.”
Not all of the agenda items are visible. For example, there are references to the Iran Nuclear Deal, but it’s unclear what exactly Bannon wants.
But from what is visible, there are several items that are both confirmed and rumored to be high on Trump’s—or in this case, Bannon’s—agenda:
- “Repeal and replace Obamacare” (no details provided)
- “Build the border wall and eventually make Mexico pay for it”
- “Move the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem”
- “Suspend the Syrian refugee program”
- “Cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities”
- “End catch-and-release”
- “Hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents”
- “Triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents”
- “Restore the Secure Communities program”
Ultimately, there’s not much here that will shock people who follow Bannon’s agenda closely. But it does provide some powerful insights into what he really cares about and where he thinks those often radical shifts in American policy should fall under the current administration’s agenda. For anyone hoping that President Trump will possibly make a moderate shift to the political center, this is literally what he (and the rest of us) are up against.