The National Rifle Association’s media arm has dropped pro-Trump firebrand Dan Bongino from its lineup of conservative commentators, two sources with knowledge of the decision told The Daily Beast.
Bongino’s stand-alone show, “We Stand,” had started only last year.
An NRA spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. Bongino initially did not respond to numerous inquiries, but after publication he tweeted that news of his show’s demise was “fake news,” and promised to elaborate on his podcast.
He subsequently confirmed that “We Stand” is, in fact, ending, but suggested that the decision not to renew the show was his, not the network’s—a characterization questioned by one source familiar with the organization’s decision.
A day later, NRATV released a statement saying the network “made every attempt to retain [Bongino] in 2019,” but did not elaborate on the negotiations.
Evidence that his show was ending first came over the weekend, when he removed “NRATV host” from the bio on his Twitter account. Additionally, a little noticed Fox News broadcast referred to Bongino as a “Former NRATV Contributor” several weeks ago.
Bongino’s NRATV show was one of a stable of political commentary programs launched by the gun rights group following Trump’s election last year. But the channel, a digital-only streaming network, has recently downsized. Late last month, NRATV laid off a number of employees, including the producer of the show “Cam and Company.” That show’s host, Cam Edwards, said it would be “returning soon.”
NRATV represented a foray into broader political and cultural issues for an organization traditionally focused on a single policy issue. Hosts such as Bongino and Dana Loesch have embraced a larger culture-war style of commentary that dovetails with contemporary conservative rhetoric with frequent media criticism and broadsides against professional athletes who kneel during the national anthem.
Bongino is known as an outspoken defender of President Donald Trump, and recently released a book alleging an “attempt to sabotage” the president through a federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
He is also notorious for his quick temper. A thrice-failed congressional candidate, Bongino got heated during a 2016 interview with Politico reporter Marc Caputo, which ended with Bongino screaming obscenities at the journalist before hanging up.
That brash style has earned Bongino the attention of the president himself. “Did you see what Bongino said?” Trump gushed to a confidant after a Bongino segments on Fox News this year. “He’s so right, he’s just so right about it all. You have to see it.”
UPDATE: The story has been updated with Bongino's Twitter response
With reporting by Asawin Suebsaeng