It comes from chief strategist, Steve Bannon.
via Flickr users Don Irvine and Gage Skidmore
It’s been just over a month since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, and he’s already backtracked on some of his biggest campaign promises. He won’t repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety or prosecute Hillary Clinton, and has drastically scaled back his U.S.-Mexico border wall from being “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful wall” to “there could be some fencing.” He has also ignored his pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington by filling his cabinet with Wall Street tycoons, campaign donors, and Capitol Hill insiders.
Given the fact that Trump notoriously flip-flopped on just about every major issue in the campaign and is now backtracking on his biggest promises, what does his administration really stand for? Look no further than his head strategist, former Goldman Sachs investment banker and, until recently, executive chair of alt-right news site, Breitbart News, Steve Bannon. According to Ronald Radosh at The Daily Beast, Bannon’s goal is to destroy the American system as we know it and replace it with a populist, Tea Party agenda.
“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly told Radosh in 2013. “Lenin,” he continued, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon’s fondness for the Russian revolutionary is telling in light of the the recent scrutiny over Russia’s pro-Trump interference in the 2016 election. Vladimir Lenin was the leader of Russia’s Bolshevik Party whose 1917 October Revolution threw a provisional government out of power, leading to the creation of the USSR.
A state of Lenin by Flickr user (cc) Blacob
If you take Bannon’s Leninist claim seriously, Trump’s cabinet appointments start to make perfect sense. Most appointees are better suited to destroy their agencies than run them. They’re also surprising given Trump’s campaign promise to hire “the best people.”
Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt — Is a climate-change denier with deep ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Department of Energy Secretary, Rick Perry — In a 2011 GOP presidential debate, Perry listed the Department of Energy among the agencies he would completely eliminate as president.
Department of Labor, Andy Puzder — A fast-food CEO who opposes the minimum wage and whose company has been fined multiple times for worker safety violations.
Department of Education, Betsy DeVos — She’s a leading advocate of school voucher programs.
The Trump administration further proved its utter disregard for government institutions by thumbing its nose at the Central Intelligence Agency last week. After the CIA concluded that Russia conspired to help him win the presidency, Trump’s transition teamed slammed the powerful agency saying: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” Bannon has said he wants to “bring everything crashing down” and so far has done nothing to prove otherwise. If the Trump administration’s early actions are any indicator of the next four years, Americans should brace themselves for a major fall.