Steve Bannon Out as White House Chief Strategist

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(CN) – President Donald Trump’s embattled chief strategist Steve Bannon is out at the White House and back at the conservative news site Breitbart as its executive chairman.

“The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today,” Breitbart News editor in chief Alex Marlow said in a statement. “Breitbart gained an executive chairman with his finger on the pulse of the Trump agenda.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Bannon and Chief of Staff John Kelly agreed Friday would be his last day.

“We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Sanders said in a statement.

The news came minutes after the New York Times reported that the president told White House aides that he wanted to oust Bannon.

Citing administration officials with knowledge of the matter, the Times reported that White House officials were trying to figure out how and when to remove him.

Bannon’s resignation comes in the wake of recent rumblings that his position in the White House was on shaky ground.

But a source close to Bannon told the Times it was his idea to part ways with the administration, and that he had submitted his letter of resignation on Aug. 7 with plans to announce the move at the start of this week. Events in Charlottesville, however, delayed the move.

Calls for Bannon’s ouster reached a crescendo after the deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.

In the wake of that event,  four minority House caucus groups sent a letter to the president earlier this week calling for the removal of Bannon, along with his allies in the White House, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.

Then, the American Prospect published an exclusive interview with Bannon in which he directly contradicted the president on several issues, including North Korea, and claimed to have the ability to fire his enemies, not just in the White House, but also at the State Department.

Bannon claimed he gave no interview at all and that the reporter published comments he made off-the-record.

Bannon’s exit comes just over a year after he joined the Trump campaign as its chairman.

During a fiery exchange with reporters on Tuesday, President Trump called Bannon a good man.

“I like Mr. Bannon. He’s a friend of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late. You know that,” Trump had said. “I went through 17 senators, governors, and I won all the primaries,” he added, noting that Bannon came on after that.  “We’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon,” Trump had said.

 

 

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