Steve Bannon steps down from Breitbart News Network

Former White House strategist quits following public spat with Donald Trump

Steve Bannon. Photograph: Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Steve Bannon. Photograph: Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

 

Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to US president Donald Trump, is stepping down from the right-wing Breitbart News Network.

It is understood that Mr Bannon - who was widely seen as the architect of the ‘America First’ policies that led Mr Trump to the White House - lost the backing of key Breitbart investors in recent days, particularly billionaire donor Rebekah Mercer.

The publication of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House propelled Mr Bannon in the spotlight in the last week.

The book, which draws heavily on Mr Bannon’s insights, contains several allegations by the former Trump aide about the president’s family, the Russia investigation and his frustration with Mr Trump’s policy strategy.

Last week Ms Mercer issued a statement distancing herself from Mr Bannon. The billionaire donor, who along with her father backed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, said that while she supported the Republican and the platform upon which he was elected, “my family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda”.

Mr Bannon took over the helm at Breitbart after the death of the website’s founder, Andrew Breitbart. The website was a leading advocate for Mr Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, promulgating a right-wing, anti-immigration view rooted in economic nationalism.

Mr Bannon, who joined the White House as chief strategist to the president, was dismissed in August, though he was said to continue to enjoy a relationship with the president. He returned to Breitbart following his departure from the White House.

The US president reacted with fury to the allegations in the book, claiming that Mr Bannon had “lost his mind” and dubbing him “sloppy Steve.”

Mr Bannon was quoted in Mr Wolff’s book as describing the president’s eldest son as “treasonous” for meeting Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016. He later said that these comments referred to former campaign chief Paul Manafort.

Mr Bannon issued a statement on Sunday expressing regret to the comments attributed to him in the book, describing Donald Trump Jr as “both a patriot and a good man.”

In a statement on its website, Breitbart News announced that Mr Bannon was stepping down as executive chairman and both he and Breitbart “will work together on a smooth and orderly transition.

“I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time,” Breitbart chief executive Larry Solov said. “Steve is a valued part of our legacy, and we will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he has helped us to accomplish.”