WASHINGTON (AFP) – Donald Trump parted ways with his controversial chief strategist Steve Bannon on Friday as the White House reeled from the fallout over the president’s much-criticized response to a violent white supremacist rally.
But the 63-year-old – whose departure caps one of the most disastrous weeks of the already chaotic young Trump administration – vowed to keep pushing the president’s right-wing agenda, as he returned to his former home at the ultra-conservative Breitbart News.
“If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents – on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,” the hero of the so-called “alt right” told Bloomberg News within hours of leaving the White House.
Bannon’s departure amounts to a nod to members of Trump’s government and Republican Party who grew increasingly frustrated with the anti-establishment firebrand.
It remains to be seen what role the serial provocateur – who was credited with a major role in Trump’s upset election victory – will continue play from outside the White House.
In comments to the Weekly Standard, he made clear his commitment to the nationalist-populist “movement” that carried Trump to power.
“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon said. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else.”
Bannon’s presence in the West Wing had been contested from the start, and with Trump under fire for insisting anti-racism protesters were equally to blame for violence at a weekend rally by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, the president faced renewed pressure to let him go.