United States President Donald Trump’s embattled chief strategist Steve Bannon on Friday left his position, a top White House official said, without elaborating whether he was fired, or resigned.
Bannon, 63, who played a key role in the electoral victory of Trump last year, became the third high-profile White House official to have left the Trump administration in recent weeks.
Over the past few days, there had been an increasing demand from Trump’s political opponents, Democrats in particular, to fire all those from the White House who are believed to be close to right wing nationalists.
Leading such a demand was Indian-American Congresswoman from Washington State Pramila Jayapal.
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Sanders said, thus bringing down the curtains on Bannon who was known for his right-wing views.
With this, Bannon became the third high-profile White House official to have been fired in recent weeks. The other two being the White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer.
The White House announcement comes three days after Trump said of Bannon, “I like him, he’s a good man”.
He also said that press treats him “very unfairly”.
Earlier, The New York Times on Friday reported that Trump has told his aides that he has decided to “push out” Bannon as his chief strategist.
“President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K Bannon,” The Times said.
Bannon was appointed by Trump as the Chief White House strategist.
On Friday, Trump was at Camp David to hold discussions with his national security team on Afghanistan and other national security matters.
According to The Times, a person close to “Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on August 7” to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville.
Early this week, Trump told reporters that Bannon was a nice man and that he was not a racist.
“We’ll see what happens with Mr Bannon,” Trump said in response to a question.
Politico, and other news outlets, quoting unnamed sources, said Bannon is out from the White House.
“His departure marks the latest high-level staff shake-up that has rocked Trump’s administration,” Politico said.
“The president has privately stewed over Bannon in recent days, including Thursday night from his golf course in New Jersey. He was furious with his chief strategist after he was quoted in an interview with the American Prospect contradicting him on North Korea and asserting that he was able to make personnel changes at the State Department,” CNN reported.
Meanwhile, Bannon said that the opposition Democratic leaders do not understand Trump and underestimate him.
“This past election, the Democrats used every personal attack, including charges of racism, against president Trump. He then won a landslide victory on a straightforward platform of economic nationalism,” Bannon told The Washington Post in an email.
“As long as the Democrats fail to understand this, they will continue to lose. But leftist elites do not value history, so why would they learn from history?” Bannon said.
In another interview to The Times, he said Trump will won the battle if Democrats want to fight over Confederate monuments and attack him as a bigot.
“President Trump, by asking, ‘Where does this all end’ — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln — connects with the American people about their history, culture and traditions,” Bannon told The Times.
“The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it’s all racist. Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it,” he added.
Image: White House Senior Counselor Steve Bannon arrives at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, US. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters