U.S. President Donald Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon is leaving the White House, according to an announcement on Friday.
"White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best," said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a statement quoted by The Hill.
The dismissal of Bannon follows that of Reince Priebus, who was dismissed last month as White House Chief of Staff. Trump also fired White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci in late July, just ten days after he assumed the position.
The move to dismiss Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, came as a shock to Bannon’s allies inside and outside the White House, who were certain that Trump would stand by his loyal chief strategist.
One senior administration official said the president had been inundated in recent days from “high-level Republican donors and activists” pleading with the president to keep Bannon on.
Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) had spoken to Trump this week, urging him not to fire Bannon, GOP sources said, according to The Hill. Meadows argued that Bannon was helpful to conservatives' agenda.
“Steve Bannon was integral to Trump’s victory last November,” said one senior administration official. “The president built his own platform, but Steve translated it into policy. He’s the man that most embodies the base outside of the president. He’s the highest level expression of the platform that got the president elected and the president knows that.”
The president had signaled Bannon stood on shaky ground Tuesday when he was asked by a reporter if he still had confidence in his chief strategist.
"We'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon," Trump responded, adding that while he believes he is a "good person," Bannon "came on very late" to the campaign.
According to the report, Bannon clashed with the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Their feuds would often spill into the press, exacerbating tensions in the White House.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)