WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — President Donald Trump has unloaded on former top adviser Steve Bannon after Bannon gave explosive comments in a tell-all book.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, Bannon has kept in touch with Trump even after he was forced out of the White House last summer. But given the statement Wednesday from Trump, it appears that the relationship is very much finished.
Trump blasted Bannon, his former chief strategist, in a forceful statement.
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” Trump said. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
That sentence was part of a 266-word statement by Trump that came after after explosive comments from Bannon in a new book, “Fire and Fury,” by Michael Wolff.
Bannon called the meeting between the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.; son-in-law Jared Kushner; then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort’ and a Russian lawyer as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the comments angered the President.
“I think ‘furious,’ disgusted’ would probably certainly fit, when you make outrageous claims and completely false claims against the president, his administration, and his family,” Sanders said.
The president also insisted Bannon had little influence on him.
“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,” Trump said in his statement. “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.”
Trump also blamed Bannon for the loss of the Senate seat in Alabama to the Democrats.
Secretary Sanders was asked why Trump continued to keep in contact with Bannon for so many months after Bannon left the White House.
“The president continued to have conversations with him, often asked for by Mr. Bannon. The president spoke with him. But that doesn’t mean that he can’t hold that position,” Sanders said.
A book by Michael Wolff claims that Trump didn’t think he’d win the 2016 presidential race, but instead believed taking the nomination would improve his brand.
In an excerpt from ‘Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House’ that appeared in The Guardian, it’s said that Bannon called a meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and a Russian lawyer ‘treasonous’ and ‘unpatriotic.’
Wolff claims Bannon mocked the men for even agreeing to meet with Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June 2016.
“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a god idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor (with no lawyers),” he said.
Wolff writes that Bannon was also highly critical of the decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, and said that the path to Trump, “goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner.”
The president wasn’t the only one to criticize Bannon on Wednesday. Donald Jr. took to Twitter and fired a few shots of his own.
Bannon did not immediately respond to the president’s statement.
The book is set to be released next week.