Steve Bannon has stepped down from his position as executive chair of Breitbart News Network amid a swirl of controversy over his comments in Fire and Fury, the controversial new exposé of the Trump White House.
Breitbart confirmed Bannon’s departure on its site Tuesday, and said the company and Bannon — who was named the network’s executive chair in 2012, according to the site — would work out an “orderly transition.” Bannon also helped lead the Trump campaign in its final months, and served as chief strategist in the administration before leaving in August to return to Breitbart.
“I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform,” Bannon said in a statement.
Bannon’s departure from Breitbart follows a chaotic week that put him in the crosshairs of a livid White House that objected to some of his comments and characterizations in Micheal Wolff’s gossipy book about the first year of the Trump administration.
Trump denounced his former top aide in a biting statement that said Bannon had nothing to do with Trump’s presidency. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” the statement read. “Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself.” Trump continued his attacks on “Sloppy Steve” and the book on Twitter.
I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
The fallout didn’t end there. The alt-right base that had embraced Bannon had begun to distance itself from him. Most critically, the Mercers, his wealthy backers, cut ties with Bannon, suddenly straining his ambitions to challenge the GOP establishment in upcoming elections. The New York Times reports that Rebekah Mercer also helped force his exit at Breitbart, in which she holds a minority interest.
Bannon walked back some of his comments in the Wolff book, and he apologized for some of his remarks in a statement to Axios on Sunday. “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,” Bannon said in a statement, in which he also reiterated his support for the president. But that apology hasn’t stemmed the backlash.