President Trump decided to dismiss Stephen K. Bannon, after weeks of White House upheaval and racial unrest. The ousted chief strategist returned to Breitbart News on Aug. 18. (Peter Stevenson,Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Stephen K. Bannon says he will be “covering” for President Trump on the outside, but the former White House chief strategist made a breathtakingly candid admission in the hours after his exit on Friday.

“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon told the Weekly Standard. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”

What, exactly, did Bannon mean? Well, he got specific:

“I just think his ability to get anything done — particularly the bigger things, like the wall, the bigger, broader things that we fought for, it’s just going to be that much harder,” Bannon said of Trump.

And what will be the effect of the remaining White House advisers on Trump?

“I think they’re going to try to moderate him,” Bannon said. “I think he’ll sign a clean debt ceiling; I think you’ll see all this stuff. His natural tendency — and I think you saw it this week on Charlottesville — his actual default position is the position of his base, the position that got him elected. I think you’re going to see a lot of constraints on that. I think it’ll be much more conventional.”


Former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

The line about Trump's “natural tendency” is exactly what Bannon meant about covering for the president. When Trump fails to deliver something he promised, as a candidate, Bannon will assure the faithful that their president's heart was in the right place but that the swamp got in his way.

But the bigger takeaway here is that Bannon believes Trump will fail. The wall? Probably not going to happen. Sweeping tax cuts? Bannon predicted “they’ll do a very standard Republican version of taxes.” Repealing Obamacare? Please. Bannon called the GOP plan that Trump backed “a half-hearted attempt at Obamacare reform.”

That's right — “reform.” Bannon wouldn't even call it a repeal effort.

The short translation is that Trump's campaign was a fraud. The ideas that Trump sold and his supporters bought are unlikely to turn into actions, according to Bannon.

It sounds like Bannon, who will return to Breitbart News, will pin the blame on everyone around the president, rather than the man himself. The question is whether the voters who put Trump in the Oval Office will be so charitable.

The Post's Dan Balz says the firing of chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon simultaneously changes everything and nothing for the Trump administration. (Bastien Inzaurralde,Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)