WASHINGTON, D.C. – White House tours were suspended indefinitely on Wednesday after an eight-minute physical altercation between White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon and President Donald J. Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, brought chaos to the ground floor of the White House.
A White House official who spoke to The New York Times on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press said the brawl began in a ground-floor conference area near the Diplomatic Reception Room. “There was an exchange of words and then out of nowhere Bannon picked up a stack of executive orders and whacked Kushner in the face,” the official said. “Before anyone had a chance to react, Mr. Kushner belted him in the stomach.”
From there, witnesses say Bannon and Kushner grappled violently with one another as they stumbled into a nearby hallway. Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Calif), who serves on the House Intelligence Committee and was at the White House for an unspecified meeting on Wednesday, told Fox News he witnessed the thirty-six year-old Kushner seize Bannon by the collar. “I thought Jared was going to throw him against the wall,” recalled Congressman Nunes, continuing, “I think Mr. Bannon thought so, too, because he head-butted Jared square in the face. That’s when I got the heck out of there.”
Unbeknownst to Bannon and Kushner, a group of fourth graders from Philadelphia were midway through a tour of the White House and had paused momentarily in an adjacent hallway below the East Room. The duo nearly collided with a handful of horrified students as Bannon aggressively shoved Kushner into a portrait of former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, damaging it “irreparably.” A school chaperone who witnessed the dispute told Real News Right Now that Mr. Bannon appeared to seethe with rage throughout the confrontation. “At one point he hissed, ‘You’re a nothing but a f***ing Democrat!’ I thought ‘Oh my God, the children!”
Before teachers and White House staff could intervene, Mr. Kushner reportedly grabbed an antique porcelain vase that had been given to President Ronald Reagan by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, and “whopped” him upside the head with it. As the sixty-three year-old chief strategist collapsed to the floor, Mr. Kushner – whose nose appeared to be broken – adjusted and buttoned his sports coat before quietly leaving the room.
Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner have made headlines in recent weeks following a string of reports of an internal feud over policy decisions within the Trump administration. According to a Fox News report, Bannon and Kushner met last weekend at Mar-a-Lago in an effort to “smooth things over” after President Trump ordered the two senior administration officials to work out their differences.