After a week of rampant speculation, it’s official: Breitbart News is kicking Steve Bannon to the curb.
In a brief announcement, the website named after the late, great conservative Andrew Breitbart confirmed that the ever-controversial Bannon has already “stepped down” (although one doubts it was quite that voluntary) as Executive Chariman of the organization:
Bannon and Breitbart will work together on a smooth and orderly transition.
Bannon said, “I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform.”
According to Breitbart CEO Larry Solov, “Steve is a valued part of our legacy, and we will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he has helped us to accomplish.”
There are no further official details at the moment, of course, but it’s clear why this happened now. As TFPP covered last week, a salacious new book about the inside of the Trump Administration quotes Bannon, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, as seemingly reaffirming the Democrats’ narrative on collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, specifically that the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner had acted “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” in agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-aligned Russian lawyer during the campaign. Bannon further predicted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would “crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,” and claimed there was “zero” chance Don Jr. hadn’t brought his father into the loop on the meeting.
President Trump responded with a blistering statement painting Bannon as a lowly “staffer” who “had very little to do with our historic victory,” who “lost his mind” upon being fired from the White House, and a shameless self-promoter who “only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.”
Bannon eventually issued a statement “clarifying” that he considers Don. Jr a “patriot and a good man,” that his support for the Trump agenda is “unwavering,” that all he meant to say was that Paul Manafort, not Don Jr., should have known better than to accept the meeting, and that “There was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt.”
Alas, those remarks weren’t enough to save his job. Bannon has been a divisive figure ever since he took over Breitbart after Andrew’s death in 2012, with many arguing that he transformed one of the conservative movement’s most respected publications into a platform for fringe figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos and granted legitimacy to the so-called “alt-Right” movement. It appears that whatever his original intention with the latest quotes, appearing to turn on the Trump Administration and giving the left-wing media ammo for their attacks were finally a bridge too far. Bannon simply became too toxic among Breitbart’s core audience for him to be anything but a liability.
There are no other details at the moment as far as who will take over, or whether Bannon’s departure will come with any other changes. Do you think this might be the first step toward Breitbart returning to the sort of hard-hitting, mainstream conservatism that defined it under Andrew’s leadership? Share your thoughts in the comments below!