Steve Bannon is out as a strategist in Donald Trump’s White House, and back in at Breitbart News.
The White House has released a statement stating that Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Chief Strategist Bannon mutually agreed that the Bannon would no longer serve as White House Chief Strategist.
The statement, released by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Kelly and Bannon agreed “today would be Steve’s last day.”
It’s not clear whether the resignation was entirely voluntarily. A source told Reuters, “they gave him an opportunity to step down knowing that he was going to be forced to.”
But the New York Times cited White House officials Friday who said Bannon had submitted his resignation on Aug. 7, which was then delayed due to the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Axios news outlet first reported the news of Bannon’s imminent removal from the position, saying that a decision would soon be reached by Kelly, who’d been evaluating Bannon’s role in the White House.
Before becoming chairman to the Trump campaign, exactly one year and a day ago, Bannon served as the executive chair of the right-wing news outlet, Breitbart News.
The media entrepreneur is also largely credited with helping Trump win the 2016 Presidential election. Reuters also reports that he played a large role in many of Trump’s most controversial initiatives, including the travel ban on people from multiple Muslim-majority countries.
In his first public remarks after being fired, Bannon said he still backed Trump.
“I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents, on Capitol Hill, in the media and in corporate America,” Bannon told Bloomberg News.
Democrats applauded Bannon’s departure, though they want to see more done.
“There is one less white supremacist in the White House, but that doesn’t change the man sitting behind the Resolute desk,” Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Tyler said in a statement, referring to Trump’s Oval Office desk. “Donald Trump has spent decades fueling hate in communities, including his recent attempts to divide our country and give a voice to white supremacists.”
Bannon marks one of many high-profile exits from the White House over the past few weeks. Former press secretary Sean Spicer, former chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former communications director Anthony Scaramucci were all ousted in the last month.
Rumours of Bannon’s departure have been circulating leading up to reports of his resignation on Friday.
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Bannon’s removal followed an interview he did with a writer for the American Prospect on August 16 where he discredited the potential for an American military response to North Korea.
The New York Times report went on to say that Bannon had argued for months with other senior White House officials, including members of the president’s family.
Under pressure from Republicans to fire Bannon, Trump declined to back him during a press briefing about Charlottesville on Tuesday, though the president did not hint at Bannon’s future in the White House either way.
“We’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon,” he told reporters at Trump Tower in New York.
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While the Times claims that Bannon’s ousting was a long time coming, it’s important to note that the removal Bannon’s ally, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, took place just a few weeks ago.
Bannon, 63, is a former U.S. Navy officer, Goldman Sachs investment banker and Hollywood movie producer, as well as a supporter of economic nationalism and a political commentator.
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— With files from Reuters.