Steve Bannon’s whiteboard is once again revealing priorities of the Trump administration. Those priorities appear to be taxes, but maybe also trade. Noticeably absent was any mention of health care.
We got another peek at the White House chief strategist’s notes on Friday when conservative activist and writer Dinesh D’Souza tweeted out photos of himself visiting Bannon’s West Wing office to sign copies of his book. What started as a photo op, though, may actually reveal information about the broad policy goals Bannon is tasked with overseeing.
New: “TAXES!!” now at the top of WH strategist Steve Bannon’s whiteboard, visible in the background. Tweet has since been deleted. pic.twitter.com/dqZ5MvtYMS— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) August 4, 2017
There are what appear to be 11 bullet points listed on the whiteboard outlining some possible policy points for the administration. It looks like “taxes” is the most pressing item, as it’s written in all caps in green marker with two exclamation points, circled, and asterisked, with three red arrows pointing to it.
“Offshoring” is below that, followed by “illegal immigration,” “crime,” “welfare,” and “[something] first” — which, while cut off in the photos, is probably Trump’s slogan “America First.” Some of the goals have green check marks next to them noting items that have apparently been completed. While a few are tangible — Trump did pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and enact softwood lumber tariffs — others are a bit harder to quantify (how do you know when you’ve accomplished “buy American hire American”?)
Here’s what’s on Bannon’s whiteboard, as far as we can make out from the photo:
- Withdraw from TPP ✓
- E(xecutive) O(rder) Buy American hire American ✓
- Establishing enhance collection and enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duties and violations of trade and (cut off)
- EO omnibus report on significant trade (cut off)
- Use fast track authority announcing (cut off) NAFTA ✓
- EO all abuses and violations of trade agreement
- Canadian lumber tariff ✓
- Memorandum: Steel imports and national (cut off)
- 100 day plan to open Chinese investment (cut off) and American beef exports ✓
- Investigation in effects of aluminum (cut off)
- Office of trade and manufacturing (cut off)
- Cut corp(orate). tax
While D’Souza deleted the initial tweets, their color-enhanced screenshots are still lurking around on Twitter, giving many armchair detectives an excuse to zoom in. What’s more, this isn’t the first time Bannon’s whiteboard goals have made the rounds on the internet. His “Pledges on Immigration” raised questions about just how sweeping this agenda was and how many people could be impacted by those whiteboard phrases.
As Vox’s Dara Lind writes:
The whiteboard gives Trump enough of an immigration agenda to sustain an entire first term. If Bannon is more loyal to the whiteboard — to Trumpism — than he is to Trump, and Trump doesn’t deliver, it raises the question of how far Bannon (and the rest of the Trumpist base) is willing to go to push his former champion to transform America in the ways he promised.