Well, that took a while. Donald Trump‘s former right-hand man Steven Bannon has made a grovelling apology to his old boss after he spent the weekend getting thoroughly roasted by conservatives for his on-the-record comments in a new book.
Michael Wolff‘s new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which purports to be a fly-on-the-wall look at the internal chaos of the Trump administration in its first year, features a number of quotes from Bannon, sledging everyone from Trump’s children to the various hangers-on around the president’s inner circle.
Conservatives returned with a massive volley of attacks on Bannon, and Trump christened the Breitbart News chairman with the moniker “Sloppy Steve” and argued he had nothing to do with the president’s rise to power. (This is obviously not true – Bannon in some part wrote the playbook for Trump’s nationalist, ‘America First’ strategy.)
The Mercer Family recently dumped the leaker known as Sloppy Steve Bannon. Smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
Now, presumably seeing the writing on the wall, Bannon – who wants to be seen as a shadowy political genius and iconoclast – has issued one of the most grovelling, embarrassing apologies in recent memory.
I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.
He apologised for calling Donald Trump Jr “treasonous” for meeting with Russian operatives at Trump Tower before the 2016 election, but also denied that his comments were about Donny Junior at all.
“My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate,” Bannon said. “He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.”
Saying Trump Jr was “a patriot and a good man”, Bannon continued. “I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”
Obviously it’s a bit of a hard sell to say that he called one Trump ally in the alleged meeting “treasonous” but not the other one, but hey: that’s the line he’s running with. Bannon reiterated that he is slavishly devoted to the president, and reminds everyone that Breitbart News is committed to supporting the president at all times:
My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda — as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama,” Bannon said. “President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus. I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breech for this president’s efforts to make America great again.
Thanks, Sloppy Steve.