It’s official: Steve Bannon has joined the growing list of employees fired by the White House under the Trump administration. On Friday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Bannon exited his position of White House Chief Strategist. “White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” said Sanders in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”
Bannon is a right-wing nationalist and former head of Breitbart.com. BBC reports that he played an integral role in shaping the “America First” message of President Trump’s election campaign. However, Bannon’s habit of taking credit and competing for influence in the West Wing against more moderate factions — including members of the Trump family, is what ultimately resulted in his termination. For instance, after Bannon was quoted in an interview with the American Prospect contradicting President Trump on North Korea and asserting that he, himself was able to make personnel changes at the State Department, Trump was reportedly furious.
According to sources, Bannon was actually fired two weeks ago and was given the option to resign, but eventually was forced out. The timing is certainly auspicious, considering critics of Bannon’s demanded so-called nationalists working in the West Wing be fired after a white supremacy protest took place in Charlottesville, Virginia (resulting in one death). Reportedly, the group of hard-right populists in the White House is led by Mr. Bannon. With his termination, this means one of the White House’s most controversial staffers (perceived by many to be the driving force behind Trump’s “nationalist” ideology) will no longer be at the center of the Trump universe.
Bannon’s time in the White House was marked with controversy, and that he frequently butted heads with other key players — including senior adviser Jared Kushner, chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and other moderate members of the President’s administratio. “Steve was never a team player,” a senior administration official told the press when explaining that Bannon had a reputation of “bad mouthing” others to reporters.
During his stint with the Trump administration, Bannon pushed a hardline trade agenda — specifically attempting to rebalance the trade relationship between the US and China. CNN reports, “The fiery chief strategist also led the charge against proposals by national security officials to deepen US military involvement in Afghanistan, feuding vocally during meetings of the National Security Council with national security adviser H.R. McMaster and working behind the scenes to water down hawkish proposals for troop increases and a longer-term US military commitment.”
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