WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump’s ousted top strategist Steve Bannon vowed Friday to keep fighting for the president from outside the White House, as he returned to his former home at Breitbart News.
“If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,” the far-right firebrand told Bloomberg News in his first comments since his departure was announced Friday.
Breitbart — the provocative right-wing news outlet which Bannon headed before joining Trump’s team — said he had returned as executive chairman on Friday afternoon and had chaired the company’s evening editorial meeting.
“The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today,” said Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow. “Breitbart gained an executive chairman with his finger on the pulse of the Trump agenda.”
Seen as the driving force behind Trump’s nationalist-populist agenda — making him a hero of the so-called “alt right” and a bete noire for centrists — Bannon’s presence at the White House has been contested from the start.
With Trump under fire from all sides for insisting anti-racism protesters were equally to blame for violence at the weekend rally staged by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, the president faced renewed pressure to let go of his firebrand aide.
In announcing the 63-year-old Bannon’s departure, the White House did not specify whether he had resigned or — as was widely reported — been forced out.
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”