The issuing of Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel to the US from seven predominantly Muslim countries led to accusations and recriminations inside the new administration, with tales of tense stand-offs and acrimonious conference calls in the middle of the night. In the centre of it all was Steve Bannon, the White House’s chief strategist, and the man being described as the “shadow president”.
The conference call was about how senior members of the new administration – officials representing Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, Defence Secretary James Mattis and White House lawyers – have been excluded from deciding on key points in the drafting of the executive order, which had been largely put together by Bannon and his sidekick Stephen Miller. It has also emerged that Bannon asked the head of Homeland Security, John Kelly, to withhold issuing a waiver for Green Card holders and permanent residents from the seven countries. The former Marine general refused to do so unless he received a direct order from Trump himself: no such order came.