Despite expressing regret over his reported comments critical of the Trump family, there will be no return to good graces in the White House for former chief strategist Steve Bannon, an administration spokesman said Monday.
“I don’t believe there is any way back for Mr. Bannon at this point,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters.
Gidley added that “the president has been very clear on his thoughts” in expressing frustration with Bannon for cooperating with author Michael Wolff, whose newly released book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” depicts White House staff members increasingly critical of their commander in chief.
Bannon was quoted in Wolff’s book as characterizing a meeting between President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., other members of the Trump campaign and a Kremlin-linked lawyer who promised to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” Bannon on Sunday lamented the fallout from the remarks, which he attributed to “inaccurate reporting.”
“Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man,” he said in a statement. “He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around. 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.”
But the recent admission from the Breitbart News chief was insufficient, Gidley said, given that his reported comments were targeted at Trump’s innermost circle.
“When you go after somebody’s family, in the manner in which he did — two of the president’s children who are serving this nation, sacrificing in their service — it is repugnant, it is grotesque,” Gidley added. “And I challenge anybody to go and talk about someone else’s family and see if that person doesn’t come back and come back hard.”
The president personally tore into Bannon after news of the remarks broke, saying in a statement that after Bannon exited the West Wing, he “not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
His legal team later sent Bannon, as well as the author and publisher of the book in a separate memo, a cease-and-desist letter alleging that Bannon broke a confidentiality agreement he signed during the 2016 campaign by delivering his remarks to Wolff.