Breitbart News announced on Tuesday that Steve Bannon is stepping down from his role as executive chairman of the company, a post he has occupied since 2012.
The news was revealed by a Breitbart post, followed by a New York Times article which reveals that it was Rebekah Mercer who forced Bannon out of the job. Rebekah, along with her father Robert Mercer, was the money behind both Bannon and Breitbart News. In fact, it was the Mercers who recommended Bannon to Donald Trump when the latter brought Bannon onboard his presidential campaign.
According on an article in the Hollywood Reporter, the Mercers had been souring on Bannon for some time and felt that his “recent actions and statements” had been unacceptable.
The “recent actions and statements” line no doubt refers to the things Bannon is quoted to have said to author Michael Wolff in his new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, as well as how he handled the aftermath that followed. In the book, Bannon was quoted as saying that a meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and representatives of the Russian government was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” He also was quoted as questioning the president’s intelligence and fitness for office, as well as saying that Donald Trump Jr. would “crack like an egg” under the pressure of the Robert Mueller investigation.
Bannon has also been widely criticized for waiting several days after the scandal broke to respond and for not responding forcefully enough when he did. Donald Trump has been attacking his former aide with both tweets and press releases, calling Bannon “Sloppy Steve” and saying that he has “lost his mind.” Axios is reporting that Trump has been forcing friends and those in the White House to choose between the two of them.
Bannon finally did release an apology on Sunday but it was viewed by the president and others as being too little, too late.
“I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”
Meanwhile, whether Bannon is quitting willingly or being forced from his job, his exit from Breitbart seems to be the first thing since Donald Trump became president on January 20, 2017, that has been able to unite commentators from both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum. He has certainly never been a darling of the left and his recent behavior has seriously angered a great many Trump supporters and Breitbart readers.
Here is just a sampling of the comments from the Twitterverse.
Bannon and Breitbart have said they plan on working together to ensure a smooth transition for the news service.