Inside the White House, they are dismissed by their rivals as “the Democrats.”
Outspoken, worldly and polished, this coterie of ascendant Manhattan business figures-turned-presidential advisers is scrambling the still-evolving power centers swirling around President Trump.
Led by Gary Cohn and Dina Powell — two former Goldman Sachs executives often aligned with Trump’s eldest daughter and his son-in-law — the group and its broad network of allies are the targets of suspicion, loathing and jealousy from their more ideological West Wing colleagues.
Of course this is all relative. “Worldly and polished” compared to Trump…which could mean not all that worldly and polished by most standards.
On the other side are the Republican populists driving much of Trump’s nationalist agenda and confrontations, led by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who has grown closer to Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in part to counter the New Yorkers.
Populist shmopulist. The unabashed misogynist racists, is what they mean. Bannon used to be a banker himself, and he can do “worldly and polished” if he chooses to.
For the most part so far, the ideologues are winning. One revealing episode came as Trump weighed where he would travel this past Wednesday following an auto industry event in Michigan.
Would he jet to New York at the invitation of Canada’s progressive hero, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to attend a Broadway performance of “Come From Away,” a musical that showcases the generosity of foreigners?
Or would he fly to Nashville to dip his head in reverence at the gravesite of Andrew Jackson and yoke himself to the nationalist legacy of America’s seventh president?
The nationalist racist genocidal legacy. The New York faction wanted him to do the less obnoxious thing, and of course he did the more obnoxious thing. He likes it.