Tags: Heritage Foundation | Needham | Bannon | DeMint

Heritage Foundation's Needham Won't Say If Bannon Will Replace DeMint

Image: Heritage Foundation's Needham Won't Say If Bannon Will Replace DeMint
Steve Bannon (AP)

By    |   Sunday, 30 Apr 2017 04:53 PM

Mike Needham, CEO of Heritage Action, sparked speculation on Sunday that President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon could replace former Sen. Jim DeMint as head of the Heritage Foundation, The Washington Examiner reported Sunday.

The possibility arose in an interview Needham gave on "Fox News Sunday," where the newspaper described him as giving a "non-answer" when asked by Fox News host Chris Wallace whether Bannon was due to replace the recently-ousted DeMint.

"I can tell you," Needham answered, "there's a lot of speculation in the room and in the media that never misses a chance to divide and attack conservatives."

DeMint was suddenly forced out on Friday over speculation he had a dispute with board members over the direction of the think tank. Employees at the organization found out the news when Politico published the story on Friday, the Examiner reported, sending "shockwaves throughout the think tank and reverberations through right wing circles in Washington, D.C."

The news caused some DeMint "loyalists" to start cleaning out their desks, with one board member, Todd Herrick, resigning in protest, the newspaper reported. Over the weekend, Heritage vice president of personnel sent the staff an email directing them not to speak with the media.

"I ask all of you to avoid speculation, especially outside the Heritage family or with the media," a copy of the email obtained by the Examiner read. "Further public speculation is not helpful to the cause we all share: advancing principled, conservative public politics for all Americans."

DeMint left the Senate in 2013, resigning mid-term, and began work as the Heritage Foundation's president. The article speculated the former GOP senator from South Carolina "lost the confidence of the board of directors after tangling with Needham over the activities of Heritage Action." There were further reports that DeMint's managerial skills caused him to run the organization "like a Senate office rather than a think tank" and that research suffered under his tenure.

James I. Wallner, Heritage's group vice president for research, fired back against such speculation on Twitter:

Heritage Action is the arm of the Heritage Foundation responsible for advancing the mission of the foundation. The Heritage Foundation is a conservative Washington think tank which formulates and promotes policies based on principles of "free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense," according to the organization's website.

Bannon spent years as a prosperous global investor and later became chairman of Breitbart News. Most recently he served as campaign chairman of Trump's run for president and was one of the first people hired by the new administration.

He has often been viewed as a bombastic and controversial figure, and there have been recent rumors of infighting with other officials in the White House. The article said his style seemed "out of place at the cerebral and stuffy institution."

However, the Examiner mentioned Bannon was close with Heritage board member Rebekah Mercer, and, should he be tapped to head the foundation, the organization could see the two work together to remake the conservative group in much the same way they molded the conservative political field.

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Mike Needham, CEO of Heritage Action, sparked speculation on Sunday that President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon could replace former Sen. Jim DeMint as head of the Heritage Foundation, the Washington Examiner reported Sunday....
Heritage Foundation, Needham, Bannon, DeMint
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2017-53-30
Sunday, 30 Apr 2017 04:53 PM
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