Alex Jones knows how to sell snake oil. The Infowars host has convinced much of his audience that the Sandy Hook shooting was a false-flag operation; Obama brought Ebola to the United States; the CIA rigged the 2016 presidential debates against Donald Trump; and if you spend $59.95 on a small glass bottle full of ginseng extract, your ex-wife will love you again.
But there are some truths that no “alternative facts” can obscure. And even Jones can’t pretend that Trump’s first months in office have been especially successful.
This presents Jones, and his fellow thought leaders in the far-right fever swamp, with a bit of a challenge. On the one hand, in the trenches of the information wars, Trump’s greatness cannot be questioned. On the other hand, failing to even secure a House vote for the Obamacare repeal — and then going on Twitter tirades against the far-right darlings of the Freedom Caucus — is not very great at all.
Conservative infotainers have resolved this conundrum by channeling the fever swamp’s disappointment and confusion onto the “Establishment” wing of the White House — and the “bad advice” that it keeps feeding to our dear leader.
Most of the reactionary populist pundit class has painted the bull’s-eye on Reince Priebus and/or Paul Ryan. But on Tuesday, longtime Trump ally Roger Stone informed Alex Jones that this scandal goes all the way to just beneath the top.
“There’s no question now, that sources tell me that the president’s son-in-law enjoys a very lively text exchange with Joe Scarborough,” Stone said solemnly, standing in front of his pool, “Many of the anti–Steve Bannon stories that you see, the themes that you see on Morning Joe are being dictated by Kushner.”
“What the hell is Jared Kushner doing talking to a guy who has a dead intern in his office and is an absolute scumbag?” Jones asked, incredulously, going on to note that the MSNBC host and former GOP congressman is a secret Democratic operative.
In the early days of the Trump White House, Kushner and Bannon were rumored to be engaged in an unlikely bromance. “For a guy who was a progressive, he really gets this grassroots populist movement in a huge way,” Bannon told New York of the president’s son-in-law.
But last month, the Washington Post suggested that Bannon and Kushner may now find themselves on opposite sides of growing divide at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
An unexpected political marriage has formed between Bannon, with his network of anti-establishment conservative populists, and Priebus, who represents a wing of more traditional Republican operatives. They are often at odds with the New Yorkers, led by Cohn and Powell, who are close to Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, arguably the most powerful White House aide.
Regardless, one should, of course, take anything Roger Stone says with a couple kilos of salt. But the fact that the far-right’s frustration has already led it to turn on Kushner — arguably the president’s most trusted aide and one of the few Jewish members of the West Wing — is a testament to how fractious Team Trump is, both inside and outside the White House.