Dear Commons Community,
After weeks of speculation about Steve Bannon’s tenure as President Trump’s chief strategist, it was announced today that Steve Bannon will be leaving the White House. As reported by The Huffington Post:
“Steve Bannon, a senior adviser to the president who was largely credited with shaping the strategy that got Donald Trump to the White House, is out from his role as the president’s chief strategist. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Bannon and Chief of Staff John Kelly agreed Friday would be his last day.
“We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Sanders said in a statement.
The details of Bannon’s departure remain unclear. The New York Times reported Trump had decided to remove Bannon, but also that a source close to Bannon said the adviser had submitted his resignation on Aug. 7 to be effective Aug. 14. MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle also tweeted Bannon is “out.”
CNN’s Jim Acosta and Axios’ Jonathan Swan both tweeted Bannon had been fired.
Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman tweeted that Bannon is expected to return to Breitbart News.
Bannon’s departure comes amid a recent wave of White House staffing shakeups and turmoil. According to Axios, Trump believed that Bannon was behind recent leaks to the press. The president has made stopping leaks a top priority.
Backlash over Trump’s response to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, may have also led to the departure. Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Sunday blamed Trump’s failure to directly call out far-right groups on Bannon, who is the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, a website espousing white nationalist views.
In a statement, the Democratic National Committee said Bannon’s departure would mean “there is one less white supremacist in the White House, but that doesn’t change the man sitting behind the Resolute 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,” the group said in a statement.
Bannon, who left Breitbart to run Trump’s campaign in August 2016, pushed Trump to be loyal to the populist base that got him elected. He was a conservative force in the West Wing who helped draft Trump’s controversial ban on travel and immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.
Bannon was once considered one of the most influential members of Trump’s inner circle, but he has receded from public view in recent months. After his feud with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, became public earlier this year, Trump urged the two to work it out. Politico also reported Trump was upset over a new book highlighting the importance of Bannon’s role in Trump’s presidential campaign.
Bannon also gave a bizarre interview this week to The American Prospect, a progressive publication, calling white supremacists a “collection of clowns” and contradicted Trump’s military threats to North Korea.
In April, when Bannon and Kushner feuded, Trump downplayed Bannon’s role during his presidential campaign, portraying him as someone who took over in the homestretch and whom he didn’t know well.
Major news for a Friday afternoon!