President Donald Trump, in a remarkably vitriolic take-down of a former ally, friend and adviser, says Steve Bannon has “lost his mind,” “pretends to be at war with the media,” leaked false information during his time in the White House and seeks to “burn” down the country.
Trump’s statement, released by press secretary Sarah Sanders, comes in response to revelations made in Michael Wolff’s new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. The book claims the former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon called the 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer “treasonous.”
Dismissing Bannon as a fired staffer “who worked for me after I had already won the nomination,” Trump claims Bannon had “very little to do with our historic victory” and is “learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look.”
The president who routinely attacks the “fake news” – he’s even announced a Dishonest Media Awards event for next week – says that his former strategist only “pretends to be at war with the media” while “leaking false information” to “make himself seem far more important than he was.”
Apparently referencing the Wolff book, Trump says Bannon “only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.”
In one of Fire and Fury‘s more newsworthy passages about the investigation into the infamous Trump Tower meeting, Bannon is quoted as saying, “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”
But the Bannon quote that’s fueling cable news – and apparently Trump’s ire – today is this: “The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad sh*t, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
Here is the entire Trump statement:
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.