The former White House chief strategist alleges the newly-nominated State Department point person on East Asia bows to Beijing.
After Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama last week, Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s sometime consigliere and Breitbart News chief, is showing no signs of going quietly into that good night, despite the torrent of Schadenfreude evinced by his political opponents.
His latest effort—or act of political vandalism, for his opponents—will be to oppose the nomination of Susan Thornton, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State of East Asian Affairs who was formally nominated on Tuesday.
“The Breitbart crowd intend to highly contest Susan Thornton”s nomination, as it stands in complete opposition to everything POTUS laid out” in the National Security Strategy, a source close to Bannon emailed me Tuesday night.
As I reported on Monday, the president’s National Security Strategy unveiled this week was seen as something of a coup for Bannon and many other China hawks (including President Trump’s uber-hawkish National Trade Council director). The document “reads like a Peter Navarro ‘Powerpoint’!!!”
This is not the first time Bannon has declared war on Thornton, telling The American Prospect’s Bob Kuttner in August: “I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in. I’m getting Susan Thornton out at State. . . . That’s a fight I fight every day here. . . . We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.”
But her nomination to take on the position officially is important on two counts.
Can’t Hex the Rex?
First, isn’t Secretary of State Rex Tillerson supposed to be getting fired soon? What’s he doing appointing full time staff?
CIA Director Mike Pompeo has emerged as the leading candidate to succeed Tillerson, and the White House has been limp in denying it. Speculation raged last month that Tillerson would forced be out by January or even New Year’s.