Donald Trump and Steve Bannon used to be very close.
Trump brought in the executive of right-wing Breitbart to help run his campaign, then Bannon served as one of the president's most senior advisers.
But the pair's relationship seemed to take a turn when Bannon was featured on the February cover of Time magazine with a headline calling him "The Great Manipulator," suggesting he was the real center of power at the White House.
The New York Times reported back in April that Trump was annoyed by the cover.
So when Trump hired John Kelly to be his new chief of staff, Bannon was finally ousted from the White House in August.
Then on Wednesday, the Guardian published a story about Wolff's book, Fire and Fury, in which Bannon repeatedly attacks Trump and his family.
Bannon told Wolff that Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russians offering dirt on Clinton during the election was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic," adding there was "zero chance" Trump Jr. didn't take the Russians to meet his father.
Wolff also claims in his book that Trump never actually wanted to be president, and was only running a campaign he expected to lose so that he could become more famous and powerful.
Wolff suggests Trump is miserable in his job, calling friends each evening from his bedroom as he chomps on a cheeseburger to complain about being mistreated by the media.
But it was the Bannon betrayal that seemed to cut deepest among the Trump administration. According to Axios, "the White House was prepared for the Wolff book to be bad for them ... but they weren't prepared for Bannon doing this."
So on Wednesday afternoon, the White House — and the president himself — hit back.
Trump released an extraordinary statement, attacking his former senior adviser as a narcissist who has "lost his mind."
You really just need to read the whole thing for yourself:
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.
The very public fight seems set to continue...
And most people in the media are just standing back and watching. 🍿
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
Contact David Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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