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Steve Bannon out as Trump's top strategist: White House

White House says 63-year-old aide, labelled a white supremacist by critics, no longer holds influential position.

Steve Bannon


STEVE BANNON
  • Steve Bannon, 63, born in Virginia
  • A former US Navy officer, Goldman Sachs investment banker, Bannon was also at one time a Hollywood movie producer
  • He joined Trump's campaign last year from Breitbert - a far-right news outlet
  • In his role, he helped Trump draft a controversial travel and immigration ban from several Muslim-majority countries

Steve Bannon, US President Donald Trump's chief strategist, has become the latest high-profile figure in the administration whose role has come to an abrupt end.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckerby Sanders confirmed that Bannon would no longer be showing up to work.

"White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day," Sanders said in a statement on Friday. "We are grateful for his service and wish him the best."

The New York Times earlier reported what it termed as an apparent dismissal, citing sources.

The development comes as the White House reels from the fallout over Trump's response to a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on August 12. 

Bannon's critics label him a white supremacist.

The former head of far-right outlet Breitbart News is described as being the nucleus of one of several competing power centres in what has been a chaotic White House.

White House clashes

He repeatedly clashed with other top White House advisers and often ran afoul of the president himself.

Bannon offered his resignation to Trump on August 7, according to one person close to the adviser, AP reported.

The resignation was to go into effect a week later, August 14, which was the one year anniversary of when he officially joined Trump's presidential campaign.

It was then held back a few days after the violence in Charlottesville.

But Bannon had been on shaky ground for weeks, and his standing appeared in jeopardy when Trump's new chief of staff, Kelly, embarked on a personnel review of West Wing staff.

Kelly had indicated to aides that significant changes could be coming, according to an official familiar with Kelly's plans but not authorised to speak publicly.

The president had also repeatedly diminished Bannon's role in his campaign in recent remarks and refused to express confidence during an impromptu news conference Tuesday.

"He's a good person. He actually gets very unfair press in that regard," Trump said. "But we'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon."

The decision whether to drop Bannon was more than just a personnel matter. The media guru is viewed in some circles as Trump's connection to his base and the protector of Trump's disruptive, conservative agenda.

"It's a tough pill to swallow if Steve is gone because you have a Republican West Wing that's filled with generals and Democrats," said former campaign strategist Sam Nunberg, shortly before the news of Bannon's departure broke. "It would feel like the twilight zone."


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