President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist – who suffered a public falling out with the White House last week after he was quoted as criticizing the president and his family in a new book – offered an apology of sorts Sunday, praising Trump in a public statement and trying to soften the earlier scathing comments.
In the controversial book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff, Stephen Bannon – Trump’s former top strategist, who now heads the conservative Breitbart News – describes a meeting that Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner had with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” The book also quotes Bannon as describing Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, as “dumb as a brick.”
In his statement on Sunday, first provided to Axios, Bannon praises both Trump Jr. and his father.
“Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man,” Bannon says in the statement. “He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around. My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda – as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama. President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus. I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breach for this president’s efforts to make America great again.”
Bannon claimed in his statement that the comments in the book were aimed not at Trump or his family but at Paul Manafort – Trump’s former campaign chairman, who was fired and is facing charges as part of special counsel Robert S. Muller’s Russia investigation – who, Bannon said, should have known how the Russians – whom he called “duplicitous, cunning and not our friends” – operate.
“To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.,” Bannon said.
The statement continued: “Everything I have to say about the ridiculous nature of the Russian ‘collusion’ investigation I said on my 60 Minutes interview. There was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt. I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Ashley Parker