Steve Bannon Has A Bizarre Portrait Of Himself As Napoleon
File this one under, "Stories That Read Like Bad Arrested Development Spec Scripts."
Steve Bannon, the White House chief strategist, allegedly has very specific taste in art. Dictatorial taste, one might even say. That is: he has a portrait of himself -- his own sweaty face -- styled like French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte hanging in his office.
To boot, it was allegedly a gift — from British member of Parliament Nigel Farage.
It's just so... bizarre. And with every new detail, it gets weirder. I mean, who even commissions paintings anymore? And why Napoleon? And, like, did he sit for the painting?
OK, wait. Let's start from the beginning.
On July 9, journalist Joshua Green published an excerpt from his upcoming book, Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency, in New York Magazine.
The book is a comprehensive look at Bannon's mercurial, often fraught role in both the Trump campaign and the current administration.
And while the whole excerpt is worth reading, there's a stand-out detail that has people losing it.
That's right. In Bannon's office is an oil painting. In the neoclassical style. Of Bannon as Napoleon Bonaparte. Given to him by chief architect of Brexit Nigel Farage.
Another reporter, who covers Westminster for The Sun, confirmed that the painting was, indeed, a gift from Farage:
In one sense, the fact that he has a painting like this is oddly fitting. After all, Bannon is -- much like Napoleon -- a political opportunist with delusions of grandeur.
But soft confirmation of what is, in my opinion, one of the scariest political friendships in the world is not the only thing Twitter has been serving up after news of the painting's existence broke.
No, the reaction to Bannon's painting is peak Twitter, and it is wild.
People are also comparing the bullish chief strategist's Napoleonic likeness to another famous portrait -- that of Tony Soprano:
(In The Sopranos, Tony's beloved horse Pie-O-My, is murdered, and he orders Paulie to destroy a painting he had commissioned of him with his equine friend. Paulie instead has it repainted in the likeness of the French emperor.)
Supposedly, Trump adviser and longtime friend Roger Stone also fancies himself a conqueror:
I mean, if you're going to work with men like Roger Stone and Donald Trump -- who may or may not have purchased a $20,000, 6 foot tall portrait of himself with funds meant for charity -- I guess you should go big or go home.