President Donald Trump excoriated former staffer and campaign strategist Steve Bannon Wednesday, following the release of explosive quotes attributed to Bannon from the upcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” Trump wrote in a four-paragraph response to Bannon’s comments to the book’s author, Michael Wolff. Portions of the book, including quotes from Bannon slamming President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., went public Wednesday.
In his written response, the president claimed that Bannon, who returned to Breitbart News after his departure from the White House last year, had “lost his mind” after he was removed from his position.
“When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.”
“Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look,” Trump continued.
“Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base—he’s only in it for himself."
“Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well.
“Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.”
A staunchly conservative ideologue with a history of supporting Israel, it was reported during his tenure as chief White House strategist that 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.
Bannon avoided criticizing the president after his departure from the White House, but raised eyebrows late last year when he campaigned on behalf of former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in the Republican primary for the 2017 special senate election – slamming President Trump’s favored candidate, Luther Strange, as a false conservative and part of the "Republican establishment".
In September, Bannon came close to openly criticizing Trump, demanding a “real review” of what process led President Trump to endorse Strange.
"This should have never just never happened,” Bannon told Fox News, “and there needs to be a real review.”
On Wednesday, however, it was revealed that Bannon had accused the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. of ‘treason’ for meeting with Russian officials.
According to excerpts released from Fire and Fury, Bannon blasted the brief meeting between then-2016 Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer who reportedly had offered information regarding the Clinton campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”.