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As a feud broke out between President Donald Trump and his former adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, Mississippi’s Chris McDaniel found himself in a bind: Should he stand with Bannon, whose support and media ties he is banking on to help him win a potential GOP primary campaign this year, or should he stand with Trump, whose supporters he cannot afford to alienate in a state where Trump won the Republican primary with nearly 50% of GOP voters?

On Thursday evening, the Mississippi State Senator sought to avoid making either choice. Instead, he attacked Hillary Clinton.

“Putting aside the Bannon/Trump family feud for a moment, it should be noted: Thank God Trump beat Hillary Clinton,” the Mississippi State Senator wrote Wednesday evening. “He’s a much-needed agent of change!”

McDaniel, who plans to announce later this month whether or not he will challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) in the Republican primary, has also praised Bannon recently, saying, “Steve’s a warrior.” For months, Bannon has pushed McDaniel toward a run.

The feud between Trump and Bannon was ignited Thursday morning, when leaked excerpts from an upcoming book from Michael Wolff called “Fire and Fury” ignited fire and fury in the White House. In those excerpts, Bannon suggested top members of the Trump campaign might be guilty of “treasonous” activity for a Trump Tower meeting with Russians during the summer of 2016 and that Trump could face charges of money laundering.

McDaniel’s initial response came at 5:30 PM.

While watching fellow conservatives taking shots at each other, it saddens me to report: the DC swamp is growing…

Posted by Senator Chris McDaniel on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

If McDaniel runs, he won’t have the support of Trump, who has already signaled his support for Wicker. In another blow to McDaniel, Trump’s campaign leadership in Mississippi announced their support for Wicker on Thursday.

That makes it crucial for McDaniel that he keeps Bannon in his camp and that Bannon remains a powerful force in GOP kingmaking.

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