WASHINGTON — Friday will be controversial White House chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s final day working in the West Wing. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement to the press pool describing the move as a mutual decision between Bannon and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Friday.
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Sanders said.
The official word from the White House came after a slew of reports about Bannon’s departure. According to a New York Times report published shortly before Sanders’ statement, President Trump “told senior aides that he has decided to remove” Steve Bannon, the controversial White House chief strategist. ABC News and other outlets reported that Bannon had already resigned.
Both the White House and Bannon did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment from Yahoo News.
Prior to the Times report, the conservative journalist Matt Drudge, who enjoys a close relationship with the White House, declared that Bannon’s time in the West Wing was coming to an end. Axios also reported that a review conducted by new White House chief of staff John Kelly was expected to conclude with an “imminent” announcement of Bannon’s departure.
Trump’s White House had been infamously volatile with a series of high profile departures. Bannon had regularly been involved in infighting with other top aides and rumors of his potential dismissal swirled at multiple points. The reports of a Bannon exit intensified after an he gave an extensive interview to the liberal American Prospect that was published on Wednesday. In it, Bannon described some of his disagreements with other top officials and appeared to undermine the president’s position on North Korea.
Bannon was a key figure in Trump’s shocking upset victory in last year’s presidential election. Prior to joining Trump’s campaign, he ran the conservative news site Breitbart News, which he once proclaimed was the “platform for the alt-right.” At Breitbart, Bannon found a base for his philosophy of economic nationalism and staunch opposition to immigration and political correctness. His ideology led many to see him as a key architect of Trump’s victory, but it also drew criticism from liberals who saw him as a dangerous zealot.