White House strategist Steve Bannon left his post on Friday. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a brief statement that Chief of Staff John Kelly and Bannon had “mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day.” “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” she added.
While it is unclear whether Bannon resigned or was sacked, but The New York Times reported that United States President Donald Trump told his senior aides he wanted to remove him from the post. The reports came hours after it was reported that Bannon was facing a review by Kelly. Bannon later said, in an interview to Bloomberg, that he was returning to Breitbart News. “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,” he said.
On Thursday, Bannon had run afoul of the administration when he had said the US would not use military force against North Korea, a direct contradiction to Trump’s unfettered threats to the country’s leader Kim Jong-Un. The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson immediately and publicly disagreed with Bannon, saying, the country was “prepared militarily” to North Korea.
On Wednesday, Bannon, in an interview with American Prospect, had suggested that Trump’s candidacy was going according to plan. “I want them to talk about racism every day,” he said, referring to the Democrats. “If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
Bannon was formerly the executive chair of Breitbart News, which fashions itself as a “platform for the alt-right” and forms a large part of the president’s voter base. Bannon was long considered the mind behind most of Trump’s race-baiting rhetoric, and has consistently backed a hyper-nationalist agenda. Trump has not been consistent in backing him, however, hinting on Wednesday that Bannon’s future at the White House might be in jeopardy.
Bannon has been accused of pushing Trump’s views to the far-right, beyond what many conservative supporters of the president have considered acceptable. He has also faced allegations of leaking details from within the White House to conservative media outlets. Further, White House officials have stated that Trump resents the idea, often aired mirthfully in the press, that he is a puppet of Bannon’s divisive machinations.