Bannon out at Breitbart as his grand populist project crumbles


Former White House adviser Stephen Bannon has stepped down from his post at Breitbart News after he was quoted disparaging President Donald Trump's children in a new book about the administration, the right-wing news website confirmed Tuesday.

Except for his sojourn as Trump's co-campaign manager in the 2016 presidential campaign and his eight months working at the White House, Bannon has held the powerful Breitbart position since 2012.

As NPR's Susan Davis reported on Morning Edition, Bannon became a huge distraction for President Trump and Republican lawmakers who hoped to turn their attention, and the nation's attention, to their political agenda for 2018.

Bannon was sacked by Trump in August as the president tried to bring order to feuding factions in the White House, but the two men continued to communicate and Bannon had remained an ally.

Wolff's book was not the first time Bannon has criticized President Trump.

"I don't think he'll be quiet or silent for very long", Kurt Bardella, a former Breitbart spokesman, told me.

Mr Bannon's time in the White House was marked by feuds, leaking against colleagues and triumphalism. Others say he encouraged Breitbart to engage in nativism and racism.

Surely he must know that the publication of Wolff's book, Fire and Fury, would spark an all-out war, and possibly provoke the president into questioning his sanity and giving him a nickname like "Sloppy Steve". When he left the White House a year later, Bannon returned to Breitbart, which he had called a "platform for the alt-right".

In the book, Bannon describes a meeting between Donald Trump Jr., senior campaign aides and a Russian lawyer as "treasonous" and "unpatriotic". "Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency".

Bannon said the comments in the book were not accurate.

But the strategist was never able to recover from a Trump statement that blasted him as having "lost his mind". Mercer and her father, hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, own a minority share of Breitbart and are influential voices in its operation.

Radio host Larry O'Connor, another Breitbart alum, celebrated the site's split from Bannon on Tuesday by posting an Instagram photo of what appeared to be sparkling wine. It has sparked outrage in Trump's camp, and the president's allies attacked the book in a round of television appearances Sunday. Mercer was also behind Bannon's ouster from Breitbart, according to the New York Times.