In the last month, we've learned new details about how Rebekah Mercer, a secretive Manhattan heiress, was the driving force behind what arguably Donald Trump's most important political relationship, his connection to Steve Bannon.
And now, she’s the reason Bannon is still in the White House. Politico reports that Bannon has been at odds with Trump son-in-law turned senior adviser Jared Kushner, and that the president's chief strategist is growing increasingly frustrated that his populist agenda is being side-lined. He also opposed being taken off the National Security Council Wednesday, even threatening to quit, but Mercer talked him out of resigning.
“Rebekah Mercer prevailed upon him to stay,” a source familiar with the situation told Politico. “Bekah tried to convince him that this is a long-term play," another source said.
After all, it only benefits her to have Bannon in the administration. The daughter of Robert Mercer, a hugely influential conservative donor, Rebekah is the face of the family - making sure the millions and millions of dollars they donate to politicians and causes are being allocated according to their wishes.
The Mercers started off on Team Ted Cruz for the 2016 election, but after being impressed with Trump's hardline stance on immigration - particularly his ban on Muslims entering the U.S. - they began to consider switching sides, according to a new profile by Vicky Ward in The Huffington Post.
Once Trump had sealed the 2016 GOP nomination, the Mercers made their move. Over the course of her reporting, Ward learned that Rebekah's first point of action was to oust Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, to put into place her family's allies, Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. As part-owners of far-right nationalist website Breitbart news, the Mercers have been close to Bannon, who ran the site, for years.
In a scene that foreshadowed the current controversy surrounding the administration, Rebekah used Manafort's ties to Russia to make her point. Here, Ward lays out the Mercers's coup d'etat:
[Trump] had been disturbed by recent stories detailing disorganization in his campaign and alleging ties between Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and pro-Russia officials in Ukraine. Rebekah knew of this and arrived at her meeting with "props," says the source who strategized with the Mercers: printouts of news articles about Manafort and Russia that she brandished as evidence that he had to go. And she also had a solution in mind: Trump should put Bannon in charge of the campaign and hire the pollster Kellyanne Conway.
Within four days, Manafort was out, and Bannon and Conway were in.
Rebekah so trusted Bannon that, after Trump was elected, she reportedly called the new president insisting he make the former Brietbart editor his Chief of Staff. Bannon thought himself unqualified for that role (it went to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus), and he was named Chief Strategist. And the rest is history.
[related id='1ca52705-8426-4483-adfb-2ec0faee1255' align='center'][/related][related id='b654f9cc-d75e-432f-b507-096d30336cc5' align='center'][/related]
You Might Also Like