Steve Bannon resigned from his post today as White House chief strategist after being forced out by President Trump and top members of his team.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the departure, effective today, was “mutually agreed” to by Bannon and Chief of Staff John Kelly.
“We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Sanders added in a statement to ABC News.
A source close to Trump told ABC News it was ultimately the president’s decision to dismiss Bannon. The message was delivered this morning from Kelly, who was with the president at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. Bannon was at the White House when he received the call that it was time for him to leave.
Bannon had submitted a letter of resignation to the president earlier this month with an effective date of Monday, Aug. 14, according to sources close to both Bannon and Trump. But amid the fallout from Trump’s controversial response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend and earlier this week, Bannon’s Aug. 14 resignation date came and went as the president considered Bannon’s future, sources said. Meanwhile, several top Trump aides continued to make the case that he needed to go.
Bannon has clashed with virtually every top official in the White House. Atop his list of in-house detractors were senior adviser Jared Kushner, national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and Chief of Staff Kelly.
One of McMaster’s first moves was to remove Bannon from his seat at the National Security Council, a move that angered Bannon. And his appointment as the council’s chief political strategist was hugely controversial when it was first announced via executive order at the start of the administration.
Over the weekend, McMaster refused to say whether he would continue to work with Bannon.
The former executive chairman of Breitbart News joined the Trump campaign last August. He would become known as a fearless and critically influential adviser to the president, but has now become the latest high-profile aide to leave the White House. On July 21, press secretary Sean Spicer resigned, followed by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was fired a few days later, serving just 11 days in that role.
On Tuesday, the president told reporters at Trump Tower that Bannon was a “good man” and “not a racist.”
“I like Mr. Bannon. He’s a friend of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late. You know that. I went through 17 senators, governors, and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that,” Trump said before adding, “but we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.”
Trump had grown increasingly frustrated with Bannon in recent weeks, according to one senior White House official, and dissatisfaction from within Trump’s inner circle was compounded Wednesday by his interview in American Prospect magazine, in which he seemed to undercut the president on North Korea.
“There’s no military solution here, they got us,” Bannon told the magazine.
It’s unclear what Bannon will do next, but rumors are swirling that he may return to a career in media. A source close to Bannon insisted to ABC that he would continue to work in the president’s interests.
But after news of Bannon’s demise went viral, the editor of his former website, Breitbart, tweeted an ominous message: “#WAR.”
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