Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is returning to familiar terrain as executive chairman of Breitbart News.
Just hours after Bannon’s White House ouster was made public on Friday, ABC News reported that Bannon was back in power at Breitbart and chairing the evening editorial meeting.
As the whirlwind day unfolded, White House officials stuck by their story that Bannon’s departure was “mutually agreed” to by Bannon and the new chief of staff, John Kelly.
While expressing gratitude to Bannon for his service, CNBC reports other White House sources admitted the final decision to cut ties with Bannon was made by President Donald Trump.
After openly clashing at the White House with other top aides, from Kelly, to senior advisor Jared Kushner and national security advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster, Bannon’s Breitbart return was celebrated with the headline of the press release formally heralding his return, blaring “‘Populist Hero’ Stephen K. Bannon Returns Home to Breitbart.”
Later in the day, in his first public comments after his departure, Bannon told Bloomberg News reporters that he will be “going to war” for Trump.
Bannon later added that he planned to target the president’s opponents, among them people on Capitol Hill, the media, and members of corporate America, with a source close to him telling Axios to “get ready for Bannon the barbarian.”
Several media outlets have also reported that Bannon actually tendered his resignation days earlier, with an effective date of Aug. 14. That was moved up in the wake of the fallout stemming from Trump’s controversial response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend at a white supremacist rally where an innocent protester was killed.
Bannon thus joins a growing list of former top Trump aides now on the outside looking in.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, chief of staff Reince Priebus, and communications director Anthony Scaramucci have now all come and gone within the first six months of the administration.
Bannon formally joined Team Trump last August as the campaign’s chief executive, ultimately one of the campaign’s most critical roles in Trump’s upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Bannon now seems to be salivating at the thought of having his administrative shackles removed.
“Now I’m free,” he told the Weekly Standard. “I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. I am definitely going to crush the opposition.”
In addition to being a news executive, Bannon previously worked as a Hollywood producer. Among his credits is the film Clinton Cash, which portrayed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as beholden to the interests of the affluent.
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