Is the alt-right, America-firster Steve Bannon on his way out of the White House? As The New York Times explained it: “To Mr. Trump there is only one person on his team worthy of attention: himself. . . . And he was said to be especially bothered by Mr. Bannon’s appearance in February on the cover of Time Magazine.”
Remember another person who was on the cover of Time and was fired for it? It was Bill Bratton in his first term as NYPD commissioner. And he was fired by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s buddy, although his stock took a dive ever since he lobbied loudly for the secretary of state job.
Appointed commissioner in 1994, Bratton kept insisting it was he, not Giuliani, who deserved credit for NYC’s drop in crime. By 1995, Bratton appeared to have gained the upper hand: He was profiled in The New Yorker on Feb. 6 with nary a mention of the mayor. Giuliani said nothing publicly, but retaliated by forcing the resignation of Bratton’s spokesman, John Miller.
A year later, Bratton appeared on the cover of the Jan. 15, 1996, issue of Time. Its headline read: “Finally, we’re winning the war on crime. Here’s why.”
Again, Giuliani said nothing publicly about the article. Shortly afterward, Bratton signed a $350,000 book contract with Random House. As Bratton wrote in his book “Turnaround,” Giuliani killed him with a thousand cuts, including questioning the ethics and legality of Bratton using his public position for private gain. Then Giuliani’s corporation counsel leaked details of two out-of-town trips Bratton had made on the private plane of Wall Street titan Henry Kravis. And mayoral aides pointed to NYPD guidelines prohibiting department officials from accepting “any reward, gratuity, gift or other compensation . . . as a result of or in connection with their duties as public servants.”
On March 26, 1996, two months after he was on the cover of Time, Bratton submitted his resignation.
So will Trump take a page from Giuliani’s playbook and force Bannon’s resignation? Or will he keep Bannon around in a marginalized capacity?
He seems to be laying the groundwork for either. Many feel Bannon’s populism helped elect Trump, but the president told New York Post: “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late.”