Steve Bannon Getty Images

Pourquoi Bannon a dû s’en aller

WASHINGTON – Nombre d’administrations américaines, sinon la plupart, voient émerger un personnage qui parvient à convaincre la presse que le président ne pourrait rien faire sans lui (le rôle n’a pas encore été tenu par une femme). Ce collaborateur indispensable est assurément la figure de rhétorique la plus courue de la présidence contemporaine. Karl Rove était « le cerveau de Bush » ; Harry Hopkins maintenait la cohésion d’une Maison-Blanche foisonnante sous le mandat de Franklin Delano Roosevelt ; Bill Moyers fit la couverture d’un magazine en « ange gardien de Johnson ». Sans cet homme-orchestre, continue évidemment le récit, l’administration serait livrée au désordre, voire au désastre.

La plupart du temps la métaphore est encouragée, et même distillée par l’indispensable personnage lui-même. Les journalistes adorent généralement ce genre d’histoire, fondée ou non : elle clarifie tout et leur donne un bon sujet. Quant à l’indispensable, il n’est que trop heureux de révéler quelque anecdote théâtrale où l’on comprend qu’il a redressé la situation, lancé une idée particulièrement pertinente ou évité une erreur colossale.

Mais la plupart du temps, ce soi-disant crucial personnage en fait trop. Don Regan, qui succéda à James Baker comme chef de cabinet dans la Maison-Blanche de Reagan, se prenait pour un Premier ministre, s’immisçant sur les photos de Reagan et de Mikhaïl Gorbatchev, le chef de l’État soviétique, traitant grossièrement les petites mains (y compris les journalistes), mais commettant l’erreur fatale de raccrocher au nez de Nancy Reagan, entièrement dévouée à son Ronny. Regan fut rapidement congédié.

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