It’s a startling image: two larger-than-life Republican bad boys happily posing for a photo and looking like they swallowed a cage full of canaries.

Seeing Michael Grimm and Steve Bannon is the real-life equivalent of The Riddler and The Penguin deciding to join forces and take on Batman. While you’re cringing, you can’t help but watch and reach for the popcorn.

They’re certainly friends in exile. Grimm’s political ticket seemed to have been punched for the final time after he was sent away to federal prison on tax fraud charges. Tired of Bannon’s antics and love for attention, President Trump jettisoned his advisor back to the land of Breitbart News earlier this year.

But a victory in Alabama’s Republican primary race seems to have turned Bannon into the alt-right Karl Rove of our times, with the strategist pledging to find candidates across the country who fit his mold. A Dr. Frankenstein in search of a new creation, Bannon may have settled on Grimm.

With Staten Island’s Republican establishment firmly behind incumbent Dan Donovan, the question remains whether the biggest GOP elephant in the room will get involved in the race. Can the president stomach another fight with Bannon or will fear of failure keep him at arm’s length on Staten Island?

The politics that are splitting apart the Republican party across the country could be seen at a hyper-local level with Staten Island serving as a laboratory in a primary next year. Warm up the bat signal.


Bob Hardt