President Donald Trump fired back at his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, on Wednesday by alleging he “lost his mind” after being ousted from the White House.
“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,” Trump said in a statement.
“Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than 30 years by Republicans,” Trump added. “Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself.”
The president sought to downplay Bannon’s role while part of the White House’s senior staff, saying he spent most of his time “leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was.”
“It is the only thing he does well,” Trump said. “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.”
The sharp comments came after a report that Bannon called a 2016 meeting inside Trump Tower among Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian attorney they believed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton “treasonous.”
Trump also appeared to break with Bannon’s electoral war on the GOP establishment and its congressional candidates — though he has distanced himself from his former chief strategist in the past only to reportedly continue seeking his counsel.
“We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda,” Trump said in the statement. “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 president’s harsh rebuke of his former trusted aide shows how Trump wastes little time eviscerating even former allies if he feels they have wronged him or his family.
“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,” Bannon says in an upcoming book, according to a Guardian report. “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s***, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
The Guardian obtained a copy of the book and first reported Bannon’s comments.
Bannon also reportedly told the book’s author, Michael Wolff, that Mueller’s investigation is focused on money laundering.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders slammed the coming book.
“This book is filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House,” she said. “Participating in a book that can only be described as trashy tabloid fiction exposes their sad desperate attempts at relevancy.”
The book’s publisher, Henry Holt and Company, has yet to respond to a request for comment on the White House’s critical assessment.