Just two months ago, Steve Bannon, former chief political strategist for President Trump, was hailed as a hero — the architect of Trump’s election win — by Michigan and Macomb County Republicans when he spoke at a Republican “unity dinner” in Macomb. Then last week the war of words between Bannon and Trump became the biggest story on social media.

Here is an excerpt from a column I wrote for Deadline Detroit about the sudden split:


… So, now the hundreds of Trump/Bannon faithful who attended that dinner in Warren two months ago – and the multiple hundreds of thousands of Michigan Republicans who were there, in spirit – must make a choice.

Are they “drain-the-swamp” renegades who side with Bannon’s view that the Trump family engaged in treason by cozying up to the Russians in the 2016 campaign? Or are they Trump loyalists who embrace the president’s sudden view that Bannon is “out of his mind?”

The Macomb fundraising dinner marked the 1-year anniversary of the November 2016 election, recognizing the significance of Macomb County’s pro-Trump vote which, in turn, led to the all-important Trump success in Michigan. It was a reminder that Trump’s 2016 White House win was praised by Republicans beyond anything seen since Ronald Reagan’s overwhelming re-election victory over Walter Mondale 34 years ago.

In turn, Bannon was certainly considered a key force in the president’s unexpected 2016 triumph and was widely viewed as a top Trump confidante even after he left the White House in August. He continued to have Trump’s ear into late 2017. Best buds.

Though Bannon carries the banner of a controversial rogue associated with far-right, nationalist-populist politics, an all-star cast of GOP leadership was on hand to offer accolades at his November speech. Beyond Schuette and Calley, the two leading Republican candidates for governor, those who paid homage included former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young; Senate candidate John James; state House Speaker Tom Leonard, a candidate for attorney general; Congressman Paul Mitchell; and state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, another GOP gubernatorial candidate.

Of course, most of these folks will side with the president in this sudden intra-party brawl despite Trump’s increasingly bizarre tweets on a variety of subjects.

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