Bannon out at Breitbart

Jon Ward
Senior Political Correspondent

Right-wing firebrand Steve Bannon’s rapid fall from grace continued Tuesday as he was removed from his post at the head of the Breitbart News media organization.

Breitbart CEO Larry Solov said in a statement on the organization’s website: “Steve is a valued part of our legacy, and we will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he has helped us to accomplish.”

Bannon, in the same post, said he was “proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform.”

Just a year ago, Bannon was a newly installed senior adviser to then President-elect Trump, having joined Trump’s campaign in the summer of 2016. He was characterized for much of the first few months of Trump’s presidency as the brains behind the president, and was lampooned on “Saturday Night Live” as the Grim Reaper who told Trump what to do.

Steve Bannon. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

But the image of Bannon as the real president infuriated Trump, according to multiple reports, and undermined Bannon’s influence in the White House. He left in August and immediately returned to Breitbart, which he first took over in 2012, not long after the death of its founder, Andrew Breitbart.

Bannon was regarded by the press as a powerful figure, and he moved quickly to demonstrate that he could have a real impact on events by throwing his support behind Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Moore defeated Sen. Luther Strange in a late September special election primary, just days after Trump campaigned for Strange. And yet Bannon described himself as fighting to uphold and strengthen the Trump presidency.

Moore’s candidacy, however, was the first major step in Bannon’s undoing. Allegations of molesting teenage girls sunk the Republican, who lost to Democrat Doug Jones on Dec. 12.

And then last week Bannon’s comments to author Michael Wolff leaked out ahead of the publication of Wolff’s book. Trump was said to be incensed by Bannon’s characterization of the 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between Trump campaign aides and family members, including Donald Trump Jr., and a representative of the Russian government, as “treasonous.”

President Trump with former national security adviser Michael Flynn and senior adviser Steve Bannon. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

A few days afterward, Bannon’s chief financial patron, Rebekah Mercer, announced that she and her family were no longer providing money to Bannon. “My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements,” she said.

Rumors of Bannon’s ouster from Breitbart began circulating not long after. Also on Tuesday, Sirius XM radio said it was ending Bannon’s daily radio show. “Breitbart News has decided to end its relationship with Stephen K. Bannon, therefore he will no longer host on SiriusXM since our programming agreement is with Breitbart News,” the company said in a statement.

Bannon did not respond to a question, sent by text message, about his future plans.

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