Combative White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon has been known to butt heads with President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a senior adviser dubbed “the Trump whisperer.”
“Several Trump administration officials” told the Daily Beast that Bannon has called Kushner a “globalist” and, worse, a “cuck” — a popular right-wing insult.
The Daily Beast reported that one source said Bannon “vented to us about Jared being a ‘globalist’ and a ‘cuck’” and has been grumbling that Kushner tried to “shiv him and push him out the door.”
The Washington Post reported Thursday that “Bannon and his populist allies view Kushner’s circle with growing suspicion, worrying aloud that the group — whom they dismiss as 'the Democrats,' 'the New Yorkers' or, simply, 'Goldman' — are pushing Trump in a 'Democrat Lite' direction.” But The Post has not confirmed that Bannon has referred to Kushner using a shortened version of “cuckservative,” which combines “cuckold” and “conservative.”
The palace intrigue became a prime target Thursday night for Stephen Colbert, who addressed Bannon's removal from the National Security Council, joking: “It was not easy to remove Bannon — they held a hot match against his back until he released his pincers.”
The White House said his departure from the NSC was not a demotion, noting that Bannon had accomplished what he had set out to do while on the council.
Colbert was skeptical.
“I’m not sure if he accomplished his goal — there are still some Muslims in America,” the “Late Show” host said. “But word on the street is that Jared Kushner helped push Steve Bannon out. How many jobs does that kid have?”
Quoting from a New York Times article, Cobert added: “Bannon tried to stop the demotion, threatening at one point to quit if it moved forward. Wait a second, Steven Bannon, you threatened to quit because you got kicked off the National Security Council? Then you got kicked off and you didn’t quit?
“That’s a TCM, bro.”
A booming voice then announced: “Total Cuck Move!”
“Cuckservative” weaseled its way into the American political lexicon in 2015, after Rush Limbaugh called Trump's critics “cuckolded Republicans,” according to Breitbart, a news and opinion site that was under Bannon's leadership at the time.
In an explainer, The Post's David Weigel called cuckservative “the conservative insult of the month.”
That was more than 20 months ago; the pejorative still hasn't gone away.
At the time, Weigel spoke to Richard Spencer, president of the white nationalist National Policy Institute, who said, “'#Cuckservative' is a full-scale revolt, by Identitarians and what I’ve called the 'alt Right,' against the Republican Party and conservative movement. The 'cuck' slur is vulgar, yes, but then piercingly accurate. It is the cuckold who, whether knowingly or unknowingly, loses control of his future. This is an apt psychological portrait of white 'conservatives,' whose only identity is comprised of vague, abstract 'values,' and who are participating in the displacement of European Americans — their own children.”
Where did it come from?
“Cuckservatism” is about not just politics, but national — and racial — identity. BuzzFeed's Joe Bernstein and the New Republic's Jeet Heer have traced the origins of the term to the white supremacist blog The Right Stuff and the right-wing board My Posting Career.
Heer, who delved further than seems healthy into how the Internet created this term, pointed out that the shortened prefix “cuck” is both “a genre where husbands, often white, watch their wives have sex with other men, often African-American” and “a much-deployed sneer on 4chan the imageboard website.”
And Bernstein points out that the first contextual use of the term came from @Drunknsage, who had been a supporter of the #Gamergate crusade against so-called “social justice warriors of the left.”
Who would be called a “cuckservative” or a “cuck?”
“The hashtag's targets are conservatives who seem to have made peace with elements alien to traditional white Americanism,” Weigel wrote. “That could mean the transgender movement; it could mean nonwhite immigrants. Certainly, criticizing Trump's visit to the border, saying he will alienate certain voters, is a trial run for cuckservative status.”
But nevermind the origin story of the insult.
According to the Daily Beast, Bannon used the political pejorative to reference the president's powerful son-in-law — and if that's true, there's probably not a worse word to use against such an influential rival.
As The Post's Jennifer Rubin wrote: “Bannon has broken the cardinal rule of office politics: Don’t insult the boss’s relatives. Bannon’s inability to behave professionally and civilly — in other words, his preference for imitating President Trump’s behavior — may spell doom.”
The Post reported Thursday that “some friends of both Bannon and Kushner, who talk daily and still have a cordial rapport, say the tensions are mostly driven by policy.” Still, the article added that “one administration official warned that Bannon was playing 'a dangerous game' because it is 'not a smart strategy to go up against the president and his family. That’s a game Steve will never win.'”
Calling Kushner a “cuck” would be on a whole 'nother level.
“Bannon’s rivals know just how cringeworthy all that sounds,” Rubin wrote, “which is precisely why they leaked all this.”