Donald Trump has issued a surprise statement slamming his former advisor Steve Bannon, saying the Breitbart News executive chairman “lost his mind” after being booted from the White House, and had “little to do” with Trump’s victory in 2016.
The sudden outburst happened for a reason. There’s a new book out from Michael Wolff about Trump’s first year in office, called Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, and it makes a number of wild claims about what’s being going on behind closed doors in the administration. At one point, it quotes an interview with Bannon on Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr‘s fateful June 2016 meeting with representatives of the Russian government in Trump Tower:
The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.
Bannon warns that the Russia investigation will likely end up focusing on money laundering, and that “they’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”
Of course, this doesn’t look good for Trump – especially coming from someone whose ‘America First’ strategy is widely credited with landing the president in his job. After these remarks were widely reported in the news, the White House moved quickly to disavow Bannon in terms more explicit than they have used in the past.
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders attacked the book, describing it as “filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House”.
“Participating in a book that can only be described as a trashy tabloid fiction exposes their sad desperate attempts at relevancy.”
Here’s the full statement from Trump on Bannon:
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. 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.
Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans.
Steve doesn’t represent my base—he’s only in it for himself.
Steve 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. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.
We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.