A candid exchange with an email prankster may shed light on the tools at Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon’s disposal should the former White House chief strategist choose to go to war against Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
In leaked emails between Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow and a prankster posing as Bannon, Marlow seemed excited about showing off the ways in which he could drive the president’s daughter and son-in-law out of Trump’s circle of influence. “I spooked ‘em today,” Marlow wrote to the fake Bannon. “Did five stories on globalist takeover positioning you as only hope to stop it.”
“Globalist” is a term commonly used on Breitbart to describe Kushner, Ivanka Trump and economic adviser Gary Cohn, who are seen as moderate New Yorkers who do not share Bannon’s isolationist-nationalistic agenda.
So what will life look like for Kushner and Ivanka Trump with Bannon and Breitbart going after the “globalists”? A look at Breitbart’s articles published Wednesday — after the leaked emails were revealed — provides a glance into the future.
Leading the homepage during the early morning hours was an article about Kushner and his diplomatic team being snubbed by the Egyptian foreign minister in Cairo. While reporting the incident in a straightforward manner, the article and its prominent placing left the impression that Kushner, who was once described by Bannon as “a dope,” was not a competent diplomat. The Egyptian government later claimed that the foreign minister met with Kushner during a different meeting.
Another critical piece adorning Breitbart’s homepage focused on Kushner’s immigration positions. “Reformers Slam Amnesty Deal Floated By Donald Trump’s Aides,” read the headline of an article criticizing a recent proposal to provide amnesty to “Dreamers” — undocumented immigrants who moved to the United States as children — in return for broader measures limiting immigration. The move, according to Breitbart, was hatched by “Trump’s pro-immigration globalist aides.” The accompanying photo left no room for doubt about who they thought those “globalists aides” were: Kushner and Cohn. “If [Trump’s aides] are left to their own devices, they would exchange [amnesty] for a few trinkets,” a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform told Breitbart reporter Neil Munro, who added that such a move would be “violating Trump’s campaign promise before the 2018 and 2020 elections.”
Another story targeted unnamed advisers who supposedly criticized President Trump’s speech in Phoenix on Tuesday night. “More White House leaks!” the story exclaimed. “Anonymous ‘aides’ have rushed, right on cue, to disavow Donald Trump’s fiery speech in Phoenix, Arizona, Monday night and tell establishment reporters that they had nothing to do with the red meat the president served up to his Deplorable supporters.”
It could get even worse for Kushner and Ivanka Trump if Bannon and Breitbart seek to shift criticism to the personal level. In his email to the fake Bannon, Marlow included what CNN described as a “personal smear about the private life of Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Kushner.”
Can a concerted barrage of criticism from Breitbart eventually help Bannon drive Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Cohn out of the White House?
Replying to the Bannon prankster, Marlow sounded optimistic: “Let me see what I can do… hard to know given your description of them as evil,” he wrote. “I don’t know what motivates them. If they are semi-normal, then yes, they [will be] out by end of year.”
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.