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With Bannon gone, one issue could get the White House back on message, says former Bush aide

Key Points
  • The Trump administration needs to focus "almost exclusively" on tax reform, says Sara Fagen.
  • Bannon's removal from the White House is a "positive step," she says.
  • Trump experienced a political exodus by CEOs and Republicans after his remarks on protests in Charlottesville.
Sara Fagen: Removing Bannon is a positive step

After the "positive step" of kicking the president's senior advisor, Steve Bannon, out of the White House, the Trump administration needs to focus "almost exclusively" on tax reform, says Sara Fagen, DDC Advocacy partner and former White House political director for President George W. Bush.

"What he needs to do is get a tax-reform package passed through the Congress and signed, and he needs something that he can point to as an accomplishment," Fagen said Friday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

President Donald Trump's widely criticized remarks at a news conference about the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, appeared to trigger a steep drop in his already-waning support, both from politicians in Washington, D.C., and business leaders.

At the Tuesday news conference, Trump said that the weekend protests, organized by white supremacists, included "very fine people on both sides." In direct response to Trump's statements about Charlottesville, members of the Strategic and Policy Forum agreed to disband the group on Wednesday. Shortly after, Trump tweeted that he was ending both of his administration's councils of CEOs.

On Friday, Bannon officially left the Trump administration. The decision was a mutual agreement between Bannon and Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

"Steve Bannon is someone who caused a lot of discord with his colleagues, and love him or hate him, he was not a force for positive dialogue in that building," Fagen said.

"Removing him, I think, is a positive step and puts the chief of staff more firmly in charge," she said.

Many Republicans have explicitly criticized Trump in their own responses to the protests in Charlottesville.

But despite distancing themselves from the president, many Republicans still want to see tax reform enacted. "There's a lot of agreement on the need for tax reform, and so this is still doable," Fagen said, "although certainly it's gotten much more difficult" because of "the infighting in the West Wing [and] the events at Charlottesville."

Fagen said she would not take a job in the Trump administration if asked, because of her concerns about the way Trump has run the West Wing.

"The president has lost a tremendous number of key staff," Fagen said, "but there's still a lot of really good people who work there."

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