Michael Wolff has revealed in his book “Fire and Fury” that Irish Americans Steve Bannon and Paul Ryan have an extremely Irish dislike of each other.
Maverick Bannon loathes the Republican establishment and has devoted years of his life to bringing it crashing down. Ryan is an archetypal GOP insider, having climbed the greasy pole of DC politics from Congressman, to Vice Presidential candidate and now Speaker of the House.
“Part of the background for his contrarian impulse lay in an Irish Catholic union family, Catholic schools and three unhappy marriages and bad divorces,” Wolff tells readers, having spent hours interviewing him.
Unlike Ryan, who has mentioned right-wing novelist Ayn Rand as an inspiration, Bannon has name checked a plethora of Irish American Democrats, including JFK and Tipp O’Neill, as political role models.
“Bannon venerated old-fashioned pols. He looked like one himself: liver spots, jowls, edema. And he hated modern politicians; they lacked, in addition to political talents, authenticity and soul.
“Ryan was an Irish Catholic altar boy who had stayed an altar boy. He had not grown up to be a thug, cop or priest – or a true politician.”
In an interview with PBS in November 2017 Ryan diplomatically told viewers, "We're different kinds of conservatives, that's something I can safely say."
In 2016 Bannon endorsed Paul Nehlen for the Republican nomination in Ryan’s seat – although the businessman likely won’t receive his support again after he appeared on a white supremacist podcast.
In September, after he was fired, Bannon made clear he thought Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were trying to “nullify” Trump’s election and undermine the agenda he’d helped the President craft.
"They [Ryan and McConnell] do not want Donald Trump's populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented. It's very obvious," he told CNN.
Interviewer Charlie Rose asked if he was ready to go to war with them and Bannon replied with a categorical, “Absolutely.”
For his part, Ryan sat out the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary; as a Speaker of the House that was nothing new, Pelosi had done the same in 2008. However, when it became clear that Trump was his party’s nominee, he shocked the right wing of his GOP base by telling journalists he was “not ready” to endorse Trump – considered at the time an extraordinary snub.
He endorsed him the following month, but the underlying tension between the two camps remained. Trump prevaricated about endorsing Ryan in his Congressional primary and after the release of the 'Access Hollywood' tape Ryan declared he would no longer “defend” Trump to journalists or the public.
Since taking office, the President has made it known he regrets prioritizing the repeal of Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) over tax reform. He blames Ryan for the repeal bill’s failure and thinks, unlike Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ryan has a weak grasp over his caucus.
Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad! https://t.co/mEeUhk5ZV9— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
Bannon and Trump have spectacularly fallen out since the publication of Wolf’s book, but in their disdain for Ryan they still have one thing in common at the least.