Steve Bannon is stepping down from his role as executive chairman at Breitbart News, the website has confirmed.
The website said in an announcement featured on its front page that Mr Bannon and the news website will work together “on a smooth and orderly transition”. Mr Bannon was serving as executive chairman, a post he first took up in 2012.
“I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class platform,” Mr Bannon was quoted as saying in the announcement.
The departure marks an incredible fall from grace for Mr Bannon, who resigned from his post as chief White House strategist just months ago after rumours of in-fighting within the West Wing. Mr Bannon said then that his leaving was pre-planned, and that he could better support President Donald Trump at the helm of Breitbart. The news of his stepping down signifies the end of his latest tenure in control of the platform.
Mr Bannon appeared to enjoy the support of Mr Trump up until last week, when excerpts from a new book detailing the inner workings of the first year of the Trump White House began to be reported. After those reports began to surface, Mr Bannon quickly lost his support from the President, and — perhaps even more damaging — from the billionaire Mercer family as well, which had bankrolled Mr Bannon’s efforts at Breitbart.
The book claimed that Mr Bannon had frequently disparaged Mr Trump’s adult children, saying that a meeting Donald Trump Jr accepted with a Russian source in Trump Tower was “treasonous”, and that Ivanka Trump was “dumb as a brick. In response, Mr Trump shot back in an attempt to discredit Mr Bannon, and anything he may have said to the author of the book.
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“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” Mr Trump said in a statement delivered to reporters last week. “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.”
Mr Trump and Mr Bannon have had a long and turbulent history.
They reportedly first met in 2010, through an introduction from the head of conservative group Citizens United David Bossie, Mr Bannon once said during an interview on CBS. Mr Bannon, a former investment banker turned Hollywood producer turned conservative activist, was at that time connected to Breitbart News, which he helped co-found.
Mr Trump and Mr Bannon began working together in August, 2016, when Mr Bannon joined Mr Trump’s presidential campaign to help it enter the final stretch of the election. With the Republican National Committee in the rearview, Mr Bannon signed on at a time when Mr Trump’s chances of winning the general election seemed bleak at best — and his influence on the campaign was later referred to in the news media as a turning point.
The new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”, details circumstances surrounding some of Mr Bannon’s quirks and biggest accomplishments while in office.
Mr Bannon reporteldy quickly set up shop in the West Wing in an office just across the hallway from the White House Chief of Staff’s office, where he made a lengthy list of goals on a white board.
He was also instrumental in the creation of Mr Trump’s first and highly controversial travel ban, which was signed by the President within a week of the inauguration. That travel ban sparked massive protests across the country, as people flocked to airports to express disgust with the hastily implemented travel ban.
In the White House, Mr Bannon was perhaps the most recognizable member of the “nationalist” camp there, which railed against so-called “globalists” and advocated for inward looking, domestic policies that favour American interests and turn away from international cooperation.
Mr Bannon eventually left his post at the White House in August, saying at the time that he was planning on waging “war” with the Republic establishment form his post at Breitbart. Mr Bannon attempted to do just that in the Alabama Senate special election this fall, but ultimately fell short from realising that goal completely when the Bannon-backed candidate, Roy More, lost to Democrat Doug Jones in an incredible end to what was a very contentious race.
Mr Trump, although he had eventually supported Mr Moore’s candidacy, later blamed Mr Bannon for the embarrassment.