President Donald Trump has disavowed his adviser Steve Bannon, saying in an official statement that the two-shirted former White House chief strategist has “lost his mind.”
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” Trump said Wednesday. “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.”
The president also made a point of diminishing Bannon’s once-influential role in his administration, saying, “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.”
Trump also blamed Bannon for Roy Moore’s loss in the Alabama special election last month and accused his former adviser of waging war on the media in an effort “to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well.”
The statements from the president insulting and distancing himself from the man widely credited with helping him win the election came just a few hours after the release of excerpts from a new book about the early days of the Trump administration. In “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” Bannon is quoted by author Michael Wolff as saying that the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between members of the Trump administration and Russians was “treasonous” and that it never should have happened, according to the Guardian.
The book appears full of damaging revelations about Trump and his family: Each member of Trump’s entourage, his children included, appear to have understood Trump’s presidency as an opportunity to raise their own profile. Jared and Ivanka agreed that, should one of them have the opportunity to run for president, Ivanka would be the one to go for it, Wolff reports. Bannon apparently found the idea of Ivanka running for president completely laughable.
Other portions confirm widely reported information about Trump and his ambitions: According to the excerpt published by New York Magazine, Trump neither expected to nor wanted to win the 2016 presidential election. “Shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night, when the unexpected trend — Trump might actually win — seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost,” Wolff’s book claims. “Melania was in tears — and not of joy.”
And chaos reigned in the West Wing during the first several months of Trump’s presidency, Wolff writes, with Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon vying for power under a boss who was often convinced by whomever he had last spoken to.
After a meeting with Silicon Valley executives, for example, Trump was apparently briefly convinced that advocating for H-1B visas, which allow skilled workers entry to the U.S., could somehow be squared with his anti-immigrant agenda.
“What a fucking idiot,” Rupert Murdoch said, according to Wolff, after Trump explained his H-1B plans over the phone.
Trump also takes reporting on the supposed “pee tape” quite personally, Wolff reports. According to the book, the president believes that he got CNN CEO Jeff Zucker his current job by allowing him to commission “The Apprentice” as an NBC exec.
Zucker was “made by Trump,” Trump supposedly said — making CNN’s reporting on the golden shower dossier all the more of a betrayal.