Steve Bannon, President Trump’s controversial chief strategist, left the administration on Friday, in what the White House has called a “mutual agreement” between Bannon and recently appointed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
According to multiple news outlets, this decision has been developing over the span of some time, with some claiming Bannon submitted his letter of resignation two weeks ago, soon after Kelly took over White House operations. Some sources have claimed President Trump was particularly upset over Bannon’s decision to contradict the president’s North Korea strategy in an interview given last week.
Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.” Bannon said soon after President Trump told the media he would respond to North Korea’s aggressive provocations with “fire and fury” if a diplomatic solution could not be found.
Bannon, the former head of conservative outlet Breitbart News, was tapped to serve as Trump’s chief executive during his campaign, leading to his appointment as chief strategist once Donald Trump secured the presidency. Since then, he has been a controversial figure in the media, with some accusing Bannon of harboring prejudicial views, especially in the wake of violent outbreaks between so-called white-nationalists and counter protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia last week. According to reports, he has also had trouble making friends within the White House, with one senior administration official telling CNN, “Steve was never a team player.”
In a Q&A session with reporters on Tuesday, President Trump once again defended Bannon against those accusations, while remaining tight-lipped about Bannon’s future within his administration.
“I like Mr. Bannon, he’s a friend of mine,” Trump said when answering a question about Bannon’s influence on his 2016 campaign. “I like him. He’s a good man. He’s not a racist … but we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.”
In a column released on Thursday, long-time Trump advisor Roger Stone also made it clear that he’s ready to see a White House without Bannon in it.
I am one who had publicly defended Bannon from false charges of racism and anti-Semitism yet I have concluded he is a spent force, never being willing to spend his political capital to help his friends and in some cases helping empower the very globalists he claims to oppose,” Stone said.
Bannon has been an outspoken opponent of increasing American involvement in the fight against Islamist Extremism in Afghanistan, often butting heads with national security adviser H.R. McMaster during meetings of the National Security Council. He has also been known to clash with another member of Trump’s team, National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn.
Bannon is the latest in a series of high-profile departures from President Trump’s administration, beginning with embattled National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and continuing with the White House’s recent shuffle of Communications Directors.
Unsubstantiated reports that Bannon intends to return to Breitbart have surfaced in various outlets, but thus far, no official confirmation has been forthcoming.
Image courtesy of the U.S. State Dept.