WASHINGTON — Steve Bannon indicated on Thursday that he still supports President Donald Trump, even after Trump said he had “lost his mind” in the wake of the publication of a new book in which Bannon makes incendiary comments about Trump’s son and other advisers.
“Nothing will ever come between us and President Trump and his agenda, don’t worry about that,” Bannon told a caller on Breitbart News’ radio show on SiriusXM. “Don’t worry about us and Trump and the MAGA agenda. We are tight on this as we’ve ever been.”
Trump issued a lengthy statement on Wednesday rebuking Bannon, minimizing his role in the White House and in his electoral success. It was a highly unusual attack from a president, but reflected the anger coming from the administration as details filtered out about the content of Michael Wolff’s new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
In it, Bannon suggested that Donald Trump Jr.’s election-year meeting with a Russian lawyer who had connections to the Putin regime was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” Bannon was a primary source for Wolff’s book, set to be published this month by Henry Holt & Co. Excerpts were released in New York magazine on Wednesday and The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
On Wednesday night, Bannon also went on the radio show and called Trump “a great man” and said he supports him “day in and day out,” according to CNN.
A Trump attorney, Charles Harder, also sent a cease and desist letter to Bannon, threatening legal action, including libel and slander, and breach of confidentiality and non-disparagement agreements.
“Legal action is imminent,” Harder said in a statement to reporters.
Bannon was dismissed from his role as chief strategist at the White House in August, part of a house cleaning under new chief of staff John Kelly. But Trump continued to characterize him as a friend, and the two reportedly continued to talk personally. Trump eventually endorsed Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate championed by Bannon, but Moore went on to be defeated by Doug Jones, the first Democrat elected to the seat in 25 years.
Bannon, a former producer and documentary filmmaker, was executive chairman at Breitbart News Network before Trump tapped him to serve as his campaign CEO in August of 2016. Bannon later joined the administration in his senior role, where he was portrayed as the highly influential architect of the administration’s initial strategy, even as a kind of Svengali-like figure and someone Time magazine called “The Great Manipulator.” But Bannon clashed with other senior officials, including H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, and pitted himself as the nationalist trying to sway Trump against the globalist views of other advisers.
According to the excerpt published in New York magazine, Wolff conducted more than 200 interviews for the book, and had access to the West Wing in the early days of the administration. Axios reported on Thursday that Wolff has hours of recordings of his conversations with White House officials.
Trump said Bannon “pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well.”