Steve Bannon, the fiery former chief strategist of Donald Trump’s chaotic White House is out as executive chairman of Breitbart News, the media company said Tuesday.
Insiders says Bannon had two choices: Resign or be fired. He turned in his resignation and is gone, immediately, after pressure from the company’s investors and influential Trump backers.
“He’s gone,” said a Breitbart editor Tuesday afternoon. “That’s all that needs to be said.”
Bannon is the first high-profile casual of Michael Wolff’s tell-all book, Fire and Fury, about the strange actions and turns of Trump’s casualty. He never denied quotes attributed to him, including claims that Trump “is finished” and “the revolution he started is over” was well as quotes calling meetings with Russians before the 2016 presidential election an act of “treason.”
Bannon had claimed that his charge of treason was aimed at former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is currently under indictment by the Office of Special Counsel for lying to federal law enforcement officers and laundering money, and not Donald Trump Jr., as claimed in the book.
The quotes sent Trump into a fury and a Twitter tweet storm that called Bannon “out of a job” and “out of his mind.”
The influential Mercer billionaire family, major backers of Breitbart and Bannon cut off all contact with Bannon after release of passages of the book.
Rebekah Mercer, who contributed more than $22 million to conservative causes, Breitbart and Bannon said she and her family is “done with Bannon” and have “shut off the spigot.”
“This could be the final nail in his coffin,” said Republican Rep. Peter King, a critic of Bannon’s activities. “Once that coffin’s close, it shouldn’t be opened.”
Bannon, in a statement Tuesday, said “I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-world class news platform.”
Is Donald Trump unstable and unfit for the office of President?
Depends on who you talk to.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Trump appointee, calls his boss “completely fit.”
Trump’s U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley claims “no one questions the stability of the president.”
“I’m always amazed at the lengths people will go to, to lie for money and for power. This is like taking it to a whole new low,” Haley said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Trump’s chief policy advisor, Stephen Miller, calls the new book, Fire and Fury, “nothing but a pile of trash through and through.”
The book, authored by Michael Miller, paints Trump as a leader who doesn’t grasp the job as president and quotes White House aides who question his sanity and competence.
That picture, said Miller, “is so contrary to reality, to the experience of those who work with him.”
Miller’s appearance on CNN’s State of the Union over the weekend led host Jake Tapper to cut him off with a rebuke: “I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewer’s time.”
Tapper accused Miller of “speaking to an audience of one: your boss.”
Miller didn’t get the hint. Tapper cut to commercial while security officers escorted Miller from the building.
One White House aide told Capitol Hill Blue Sunday that Trump ordered his appointees to “get their butt out there” and defend him or “find another job.”
Trump responded with a tweet: “Jake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!”
He also tweeted: “I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author.”
Wolff’s book landed in bookstores last Friday and is a best seller.
Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton continues to widen her lead over fading Republican contender Donald Trump in public opinion polls, going up either points in the latest Washington Post-ABC survey released Sunday.
Trump’s gaffe-filled post convention period gives Clinton a wider lead than where President Barack Obama stood in his race against loser Mitt Romney four years ago or John McCain in 2008.
“Democrats are lining up behind their candidate and Republicans are in disarray,” says one GOP pollster, who asked not to be identified. “At this point, the GOP does not have a Presidential campaign and as each day passes, the point where Trump can recover is fading.”
The Post-ABC polls shows Clinton leading 50-42 percent in the telephone survey carried out August 1-4.
Presidential election polls often show candidates gaining ground after their nominating contests but Trump’s “bounce” was minimal and Clinton’s gain continues 10 days after her convention nomination.
Before the conventions Clinton had a four-point lead over Trump, according to an Post-ABC News survey.
Among likely voters, Clinton’s lead is 51 to 44 percent, and in a race that includes Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Jill Stein from the Green Party, Clinton leads Trump 45-37 percent, with Johnson at eight percent and Stein at four percent.
Clinton and her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, received the nomination to run for the November 8 presidential election during the July 25-28 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Trump and his vice presidential candidate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, were nominated in the July 18-21 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
A a string of significant political gaffes continue to haunt and hurt Trump.
Mistakes include urging Russia to find and release emails that disappeared from Clinton’s private server that she used as secretary of state.
He denigrated the family of a Muslim-American soldier killed in the Iraq war, to the horror of veterans and their supporters, a mistake that brought widespread criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
Other issues include questions this week about the immigration ploys used by Trump’s wife, Slovenian Melania Trump, who may have began her nude modeling career without proper documents and lied about the dates of when she actually came to America. She also came under scrutiny for plagiarizing part of her speech at the Democratic National Convention from First Lady Michelle Obama and lied by claiming she had a college degree.
“There’s an irony that the candidate who calls his opponent ‘lying Hillary’ shares his own dishonesty with his wife and bases so much of his campaign on illegal immigrants while having a wife who may have been one,” says Democratic political operative John Crimmons.
Dissatisfaction with both candidates remains low: nearly 6 in 10 registered voters said that they are unhappy with both Clinton and Trump as major party candidates.
Barring campaign or news developments, the next opportunity for the candidates to shift their poll numbers comes in the three presidential debates, scheduled for late September and October.
Seeking to arrest his sinking poll numbers, Trump reversed course Friday and endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan for re-election, pleaded for Republican unity and pledged to work with the very party leaders he had earlier dismissed as Washington’s ineffective establishment figures.
But Trump, a neophyte candidate who had never run for office before announcing his candidacy for President last year, ignores the advice of his campaign consultants and launches rant-filled attacks that may have worked with the GOP faithful in the conventions but bring out opposition in a general election.
Polls show him running at just one percent among African-Americans and extremely low with Hispanics — the two large voting blocs that can decide elections.
His latest poll numbers also show he is trailing college-educated whites and female voters.
He trails badly in Arizona, normally a solid Democratic state, and is falling in polls in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia — states that are considered “swing” and necessary to capture for a Presidential win.
Even worse, a number of high profile Republicans, including Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, have announced they are walking away from Trump and voting for Clinton.