The ongoing GOP civil war just got a little more interesting. President Trump has just unloaded on former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in no uncertain terms, blasting him in an official statement released this afternoon via press secretary Sarah Sanders.
The blistering statement begins with an open disavowal of Bannon, a man who was routinely characterized as the brain behind Trump’s intensely populist campaign rhetoric and the direction of his presidential agenda: “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency.” And it gets heated very quickly: “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
Trump goes on to mock his former key adviser for botching the Alabama Senate race — in which Democrat Doug Jones defeated Bannon-backed Roy Moore – and accuses Bannon of constantly leaking to the press while in the White House for the sake of making himself appear more important than he was.
This statement (quoted in full below) comes just in advance of the release of a new book by writer Michael Wolff, which, in part, appears to allege that Trump never expected to win the 2016 election. A long-form article based on the new book — which is titled “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” — was published today in New York magazine and asserts that Trump believed his nomination for the Republican party would boost his brand. The Guardian also published an excerpt from Wolff’s book in which Bannon describes the now-infamous meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”
Here is the president’s full statement on Bannon:
Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.
Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.
Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base-he’s only in it for himself.
Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well.
Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.
We have many great Republican members of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.