Steve Bannon will be stepping down as Chairman and CEO of Breitbart News, days after he suffered a stunning backlash for his comments in Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
“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,” said Bannon in a terse statement first reported on Breitbart Tuesday.
The former White House chief strategist blasted Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with a Russian lawyer as “treasonous” in the Wolff book, but later backtracked by saying he was not criticizing the president’s son, and was actually criticizing the political insiders, including Paul Manafort, who allowed him to take the meeting.
The backtracking didn’t work. Key allies have abandoned Bannon, including Breitbart backer Rebekah Mercer, whose family also supported Trump’s presidential campaign. President Trump has not amended a blistering denunciation of Bannon, his former confidant and campaign manager.
Despite Bannon’s departure, former Breitbart spokesperson Kurt Bardella said it probably would not be the last we heard of him. He said Bannon — who Trump detractors sometimes called “President Bannon” because of his influence — has even considered his own political career.
“I don’t think he’ll be quiet or silent for very long. Acceptance fate or defeat is not in his DNA,” Bardella told TheWrap. “Someone who entertains running for president doesn’t just retreat and shrink away into anonymity. He will try and reinvent himself. He will try and finish what he started.”
“I’m very surprised,” said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump aide who speaks with Bannon regularly. “I thought everything subsided after the weekend.”
Former Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos told TheWrap that people lacing into Bannon now were “hypocrites,” and he too predicted another act.
“The people knifing Steve now are cowards and hypocrites,” said Yiannopoulos. “They were perfectly happy to suck up to him when he had the President’s ear. Steve is one of the most brilliant political operatives of his generation. You’re a fool if you think this is anything but the opening of his next chapter.”
Breitbart CEO Larry Solov, praised the outgoing newsroom chief.
“Steve is a valued part of our legacy, and we will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he has helped us to accomplish,” he said.