Steve Bannon’s departure will give him more time to do the things he loves: turning down invites to Matt Boyle’s LARP meetups and looking like Jabba the Hutt after gastric bypass surgery. So many awkward white dudes on the internet were enraged by Bannon’s dismissal you’d think a woman had offered an opinion about something. And a debate quickly ensued over whether Bannon resigned, was forced out or if Marty McFly so compellingly performed a Chuck Berry tune that Bannon’s presence in the White House dissolved completely. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, August 18th, 2017:
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - To quote the Facebook profile of virtually every irritating intern who only gets their quotes from “The West Wing,” ”When the fall’s all that’s left, it matters a great deal.″
Well, annoying intern, we now turn to your hard-won wisdom, because this will be the last HuffPost Hill. Starting Monday, subscribers will be switched over to the HuffPost Politics newsletter, featuring a rundown of our team’s best work (including, hopefully, mine), sent out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and not featuring curse words. If that doesn’t sound like your thing, you can unsubscribe below. We’ll send out a reminder email on Monday.
This is a bittersweet moment for us. Seven years ago, Nico Pitney, Ryan Grim and yours truly set out to create a counterpoint to the various political morning email tip sheets. Along the way, other stellar HuffPost talents like Arthur Delaney and Jeffrey “Jeff” Young helped make it really shine. The extent to which this daily compendium of political news and stupid cat videos has ingratiated itself in the political sphere has been both a gratifying surprise and a deeply humbling experience. Nary an evening passes without us hearing from any number of staffers, advocates, organizers, lobbyists, journalists, political junkies and musicians in New Jersey (hello, Sue Feingold!). We never expected to have administration officials complain about not being featured in Twitterama, veteran journalists laugh at our stupidly crude Five Guys fundraiser jokes (“evacuate your wallets and your bowels”) or members of Congress wishing us a happy holiday after announcing a vacation break, yet here we are.
...BUT! We aren’t going anywhere. I will be focusing more on enterprise reporting here at HuffPost. As always, you can follow me on Twitter, reach me on email, or if you’re really in need of some HuffPost Hill-style political writing, you should buy my book, “The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide to Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government.” You’ll like it, I swear. Jeff will continue his stellar work covering health care (two words, dammit) and he, too, is on the Twitter.com website.
AND IF YOU REALLY, REALLY NEED SOME MORE HUFFPOST HILL - I’ll be starting a personal newsletter (sign up here). It’ll feature a mish-mash of my own writing, alongside political and cultural items I find interesting and/or underappreciated, all written with the same HPH-like tone you’ve grown to love (or...tolerate). There will be stupid internet videos, too. Name suggestions are more than welcomed.
It’s been the pleasure of a lifetime getting goof around in front of such a knowledgeable and interesting audience; thank you all for indulging me. -Eliot
[Ed. note: Most of the above is untrue. We haven’t had the heart to tell Eliot yet, but he’s being sent to a nice farm in the country where he can run around and play and shout “CONGRATULATIONS, JARED KUSHNER!” at cows and chickens and whatnot. His salary will be transferred to Jeff.]
And now some news...
LEAVE BANNON - We’re sorry if you’re bummed about HuffPost Hill wrapping up, but the day definitely ended in the black, cosmically speaking. Maggie Haberman: ”President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion. Earlier on Friday, the president had told senior aides that he had decided to remove Mr. Bannon, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion. But a person close to Mr. Bannon insisted that the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week. But the move was delayed after the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.” [NYT]
This is really going to put a damper on Matt Boyle’s revolution. “Some White House officials also said Friday they expect some of Bannon’s allies inside the administration to exit with him. Bannon works closely with a number of White House officials, including national security aide Sebastian Gorka and assistant Julia Hahn. Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News — a fiery, hard-right news site that has gone to war with the Republican establishment — had been expecting to be cut loose from the White House, people close to him said. One of them explained that Bannon was resigned to that fate and is determined to continue to advocate for Trump’s agenda on the outside. ‘No matter what happens, Steve is a honey badger,’ said this person, who like others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.” [WaPo]
Headline on Breitbart (whatever this means): “With Steve Bannon Gone, Donald Trump Risks Becoming Arnold Schwarzenegger 2.0”
CNN’s Brooke Baldwin reads aloud a list of all the crazy Trump stuff from just the past four weeks, and there are so many items on it that she has to stop halfway through for a drink of water. Everything is terrible.
AGHAST ROMNEY PUTS TRUMP ON ROOF OF CAR, DRIVES AWAY - HuffPost Hill remembers you always, Seamus. Paige Lavender: “Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called on President Donald Trump to ‘acknowledge that he was wrong’ and apologize for his remarks about the violent Charlottesville rally. In a Facebook post Friday, Romney urged Trump to ‘state forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville.’ He asked the president to ‘definitively repudiate’ the support of David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who thanked Trump for condemning “leftist terrorists” in his remarks on the events in Virginia. ‘Whether he intended to or not, what [Trump] communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn,’ Romney wrote.′″ [HuffPost]
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST TOO BUSY COMBATTING RACIAL INJUSTICE TO FEEL BAD FOR HUFFPOST HILL - HuffPost Hill’s Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist ― who for years has read each edition of this newsletter out loud to his best friend, a Japanese body pillow with a printout of Jack Kemp’s face stapled to it ― is taking a holistic approach to America’s racial tensions. “Thank you for making me a part of this celebration of elite liberal snark!” writes PSLGOPL, taking a break from managing an astroturf campaign to have the Treasury Department OK a futures market for summer associates. “Maybe Huffington post will replace you with a black or Hispanic reporter that didn’t go to private schools in New York City? Probably not, nothing matters. Good luck Eliot!” Thanks, PSLGOPL!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - HuffPost Hill is ending. Hang in there!
SUSAN BRO: COME AT ME - It’s a true testament to Susan Bro’s staggering goodness that she might singlehandedly rehabilitate the word “bro.” Paige Lavender: ”Susan Bro, whose daughter Heather Heyer was killed by a car at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, says she won’t be speaking to President Donald Trump. ‘I have not [spoken to Trump], and now I will not,’ Bro said on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ Friday. Bro said the White House tried to reach out to her multiple times the day of her daughter’s funeral, and she simply missed the calls. But after seeing video of Trump’s Tuesday press conference, during which he defended white supremacists and railed against counterprotesters, Bro said she doesn’t wish to speak to him.” [HuffPost]
Jessica Schulberg and Dana Liebelson on the slippery slope of banning groups we don’t like from the internet.
PEOPLE WHO VALUE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION NOT SUPER-KEEN ON PRESIDENT - Then again, they haven’t seen the president’s senior film thesis from his time at SCAD. Paige Lavender: ”Sixteen members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned Friday, citing President Donald Trump’s refusal to explicitly condemn hate groups in the wake of violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. The group, many of whom former President Barack Obama had appointed to the advisory committee, sent a joint letter to Trump Friday announcing their resignation…. The committee, created in 1982 by former President Ronald Reagan, serves to advise the White House on cultural issues. The group cited more than just Trump’s recent comments on racism in their letter, arguing budgetary cuts to arts and culture agencies, his approach to threats from North Korea, the president’s attempt to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military and the United States’ exit from the Paris climate agreement also contributed to their decision.” [HuffPost]
DRIVING MISS CRAZY - And to think the reward you get for this is a staff assistant job where people will yell at you all day over the phone and you eat yogurt for lunch at your desk and you cry. John Bresnahan and Rachael Bade: “Rep. Todd Rokita [is] an Indiana Republican running in one of next year’s most competitive Senate races. Who knew it could take eight pages of instructions on how to properly escort a member of Congress around his district? Yet there it is, laid out in mind-blowing detail, in a memo obtained by POLITICO that’s sure to make any young, eager-beaver political aide shudder. Tasks listed in the document, entitled ‘Instructions on Staffing and Driving — District Version,’ include handing Rokita a cup of black coffee upon picking him up at his home, acting as a physical barrier between him and trackers looking to capture embarrassing footage of the congressman, and ‘avoid[ing] sudden acceleration or braking’ while driving.” [Politico]
REFORMED WHITE SUPREMACISTS GRAPPLE WITH CHARLOTTESVILLE - Not super-high on the list of people we should be dishing out empathy to, but compelling stories, nonetheless. Anna Almendrala and Melissa Jeltsen: “Angela King, 42, who co-founded the nonprofit, said that over the past week, dozens of former white supremacists and neo-Nazis took to the private message board to express their complicated feelings of anger, sadness, depression and, also, guilt. ‘For individuals who were involved at a large scale, we never really know if what we did is having an impact on the people who are now out there marching with swastikas,’ she said…. But in interviews with HuffPost, many ‘formers’ ― people who have left the life and chosen to speak out about it ― said they’ve become even more motivated to spread the message that there is a path out of hate.” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a corgi puppy fighting a chicken.
I HEAR AMERICA SINGING - This will be convenient what with Violent J being shortlisted for White House chief strategist. Rachel Kurzius: “More than a year ago, rap rock duo Insane Clown Posse announced a march on Washington slated for September 2017. Now, the Juggalo March is less than a month away, and it’ll be sharing the National Mall with a pro-Trump rally and three other demonstrations that have applied for permits for September 16, 2017 on National Mall-administered lands, according to National Park Services spokesperson Mike Litterst. Juggalo is the term used for fans of the Insane Clown Posse, fronted by Violent J and 2 Dope, often recognizable through clown face paint, and they’re gathering to protest a government classification that they say has actively harmed them through harassment by law enforcement, job losses, dismissal from military service, eviction, and lost child custody.” [DCist]
- High-tech furniture for tiny apartments.
- The transcript from the juror selection for Martin Shkreli’s trial is the greatest thing you’ll read this weekend.
- The most popular emojis, by state.