Lashing out at his former chief political strategist and campaign manager, President Donald Trump issued an unusual statement about Stephen K. Bannon, questioning the latter’s honesty, political savvy, and mental stability. “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” wrote Trump in the statement. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.”

The president continued, “Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself.”

Trump’s statement came after reports emerged about a book published online on Wednesday by journalist Michael Wolff. This was also after a Bannon profile in Vanity Fair magazine infuriated the president. 

In journalist Wolff’s book, Bannon criticized Trump and family members, including Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump’s senior advisers have counseled the president to cut ties with Bannon. Trump reportedly complained that Bannon had credited himself for Trump’s electoral victory.

The president also accused Bannon of being in league with the media. “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. It is the only thing he does well. 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 said.

“We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down,” said Trump.

“This book is filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House. Participating in a book that can only be described as trashy tabloid fiction exposes their sad desperate attempts at relevancy,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The communications director for First Lady Melania Trump, Stephanie Grisham, said the book “is clearly going to be sold in the bargain fiction section.” Grisham said, “Mrs. Trump supported her husband’s decision to run for President and in fact, encouraged him to do so. She was confident he would win and was very happy when he did,” thus contradicting claims in the book.

President. Trump ousted Bannon from the White House in August. He currently directs Breitbart News.

In “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff, Bannon is quoted as saying that it was “treasonous” for Donald Trump Jr. and campaign officials to meet a Russian lawyer who purportedly offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower involved Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and erstwhile campaign manager Paul Manafort. Bannon said, according to the book, "The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor -- with no lawyers. They didn't have any lawyers," Bannon continued. "Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s***, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately." In addition, Bannon is quoted as saying that there was no way that the president was unaware of Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian attorney during the presidential campaign.

The president’s full statement:

Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.

Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base—he’s only in it for himself.

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. It is the only thing he does well. 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.

We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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