Watch CBS News

To Steve Bannon's allies, Jeff Flake's departure is a win

Bannon on Flake: More to fall
Bannon claims victory after Flake says he won't seek re-election 07:40

In Steve Bannon's war on what he views as the establishment GOP, Bannon's allies are counting Sen. Jeff Flake's retirement announcement as a victory.

Bannon served as President Trump's former chief strategist, but is now pledging to wage war on behalf of Mr. Trump against who he believes are detractors in his own party from his perch at the helm of Breitbart News. Bannon declared a "Steve Bannon predicts Trump will win 400 electoral votes in 2020 at Values Voters Summit" earlier this month. 

When Flake, an Arizona Republican who has spoken out against the president, announced he will not run for reelection in 2018 so he can "better serve my country and conscience," Breitbart posted "WINNING" 14 times in a row in a single tweet. 

An ally of Bannon's said Flake's departure only added to the triumph of ultra-conservative Roy Moore over Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary, and the upcoming departure of increasingly-outspoken Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who has said he is not running for re-election. Mr. Trump campaigned for Strange, but it was Moore who had the backing of far-right supporters like Bannon and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"It's been a great couple of weeks starting with the win in Alabama, the retirement of Bob Corker after it was clear he would be primaried, to today; we're getting tired of winning," said one Bannon ally.

The Bannon ally said Trump supporters "across the nation are celebrating," and this shows the "lack of awareness that some of those folks have about where the Republican Party is currently."

"Today was a monumental victory for the Trump movement across the nation," Andy Surabian, senior adviser to the Bannon-aligned Great America Alliance, told CBS News.

The praise of McConnell and other establishment Republicans of Flake "shows why they're losing right now: They're out of touch with the voters in the Republican Party right now," Surabian said. 

"It shows where the Republican Party is today, this is Donald Trump's Republican Party," Surabian said. 

CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris contributed to this report. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.