Steve Bannon, Who Helped Put Trump in the White House, Is Ousted

Trump decided to fire Bannon in the last two weeks and gave him an opportunity to step down before being forced out, source says

Amir Tibon
Reuters
Steve Bannon.
Steve Bannon.Credit: Joshua Roberts/REUTERS
Amir Tibon
Reuters

President Donald Trump has fired chief strategist Steve Bannon, the man who helped get him elected, the White House announced on Friday.

"White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "We are grateful for his service and wish him the best."

The announcement ended the turbulent tenure of a rabble-rousing conservative media entrepreneur and political activist who was a darling of Trump's base.

Over the past few months, Bannon has clashed with a number of the president's top advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser HR McMaster. In recent weeks it was reported that Trump had begun to suspect that Bannon was "a leaker," and that he was responsible for damaging stories against other White House officials that appeared in the press.

A source familiar with the decision, which had been under consideration for a while, told Reuters that Bannon had been given an opportunity to depart on his own terms. "The president made up his mind on it over the past couple of weeks," the source said.

Kelly had been evaluating Bannon's role within the White House. "They gave him an opportunity to step down knowing that he was going to be forced to," the source said.

He had told friends he could go back to the right-wing Breitbart News outlet, which he had headed before he took over as chief of Trump's presidential campaign in August 2016.

On Wednesday, Bannon went off-script in an interview with American Prospect magazine, calling the far-right a “collection of clowns” and directly contradicting Trump on his North Korea strategy, saying "they got us" and "there is no military solution."

Bannon also said the Democrats are destroying themselves with their focus on identity politics: "If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats,” he said.

Bannon insisted that the United States is in an "economic war with China" and warned Washington is losing the fight, but that it is about to hit China hard over unfair trade practices.

According to Axios’s Jonathan Swan, Bannon did not realize that he had agreed to an interview: “Apparently Bannon never thought that the journalist might take his (very newsworthy) comments and turn them into a story.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

$1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

A family grieves outside the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday.

Israeli PM Offers Condolences After Texas Gunman Kills 21 at Elementary School

U.S. President Joe Biden, this week.

Biden Decides to Keep Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Terror List, Says Report

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Progressive Jews Urge ADL Chief to Apologize for Calling Out Democratic Activist

Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders with Jessica Cisneros in San Antonio last week.

It’s AIPAC vs. Bernie Sanders in Too-close-to-call Texas Democratic Runoff

U.S. President Joe Biden. Making a historic pivot to Asia.

Biden Does What His Three Predecessors Talked About Yet Failed to Do

Meir Kahane addressing his followers during a demonstration in Jerusalem, in 1984.

Why the U.S. Removed Kahane Chai From Terrorist Blacklist