On Wednesday morning, Steve Bannon and his closest advisers were preparing a statement to atone for scorched-earth comments he’d made about President Donald Trump and his eldest son Donald Trump Jr., that had been printed in Michael Wolff’s new book on the Trump White House.
But before Team Bannon was able to make its statement public, the president dropped atomic tonnage on his former White House chief strategist. “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” read Trump’s statement, which as The Daily Beast reported, he personally dictated key parts of. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
The Daily Beast has obtained portions of the final draft of Bannon’s unreleased statement.
In them, the Breitbart chairman noted that he has previously and repeatedly called the Trump-Russia investigation baseless and a “witch hunt by the left.” (The term “witch hunt” is one of the president’s preferred ways of describing the ongoing Russia probes.)
Bannon then went on to praise the president and his son.
“Don Jr., like his father, is a great American and a patriot. And we all know Don Jr. did not knowingly meet with Russian agents,” the next paragraph of Bannon’s unreleased statement read.
In Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, Bannon called the infamous meeting of Trump campaign officials—including Trump’s son and Jared Kushner—and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya potentially “treasonous.” He also speculated that the president’s son involved his dad in that now infamous gather.
“The chance that Don Jr did not walk these Jumos up to his father's office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero,” Bannon is quoted as saying.
The text of Bannon’s written statement that was obtained by The Daily Beast does not mention Kushner, a top White House adviser and President Trump’s son-in-law who Bannon had feuded with in the West Wing and whom Bannon repeatedly disparages to Wolff.
Bannon did not respond to a request for comment.
He ends the week with his political enemies cheering, his allies taking cover, and his relationship with the president and the Trump family strained like never before.
“Steve had the honor of working in the White House & serving the country,” Trump Jr. tweeted earlier this week. “Unfortunately, he squandered that privilege & turned that opportunity into a nightmare of backstabbing, harassing, leaking, lying & undermining the President. Steve is not a strategist, he is an opportunist.”