After getting shoved out of the White House in August, Steve Bannon returned to Breitbart News with plans to further the Trumpist revolution. But in the end, he just got ousted a second time.
Bannon — former White House chief strategist, Trump campaign chairman, and self-described “honey badger” — on Tuesday was forced out of his job as executive chairman of Breitbart News, according to the New York Times.
Bannon had ticked off the conservative billionaire Mercer family, benefactors to both Trump and Breitbart, with his comments in the new book "Fire and Fury" by journalist Michael Wolff — comments highly critical of the White House. Even the so-called alt-right, a large part of Bannon's base and Breitbart's readership, turned on him. And then Breitbart announced his dismissal in a Tuesday afternoon post on the site.
“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,” CEO Larry Solov said in the post, which pledged “a smooth and orderly transition.” Bannon had served as Breitbart’s leader since 2012, although he took a year-long hiatus in 2016 when he joined the Trump campaign and, later, the administration.
Wolff’s book, which went on sale Friday, quotes Bannon as calling Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” He also called Trump himself “a big warm-hearted monkey” and a “simple machine.” Although Bannon slammed the book’s “inaccurate reporting” and denies having said the comments, his criticism of the Trump administration put him on the outs with the Mercers, who have bankrolled Bannon and Breitbart for years.
"I support President Trump and the platform upon which he was elected," Rebekah Mercer said in a rare public statement last week. "My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements."
Bannon and his representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While Bannon is credited with helping Trump win the election in an epic upset over Hillary Clinton, the president reportedly grew to disdain Bannon’s reputation in the media as his puppeteer. These included a Time magazine cover, which was titled “The Great Manipulator,” and a best-selling book about Bannon and the Trump campaign called “The Devil’s Bargain,” which broadly described Bannon as the wind beneath the Trump campaign’s wings.
Bannon eventually left the White House in August after months of vying for influence with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, or “Javanka,” as he reportedly called them. Afterward, he returned to lead Breitbart, which had became one of the most widely read right-wing publications in the U.S., with its far-right, hypernationalist bent, under his leadership.
Alex Thompson contributed to this report.