Bannon leaves Breitbart board amid fallout from Fire and Fury
Departure leaves him without platform for political agenda
Stephen Bannon stepped down as executive chairperson of Breitbart News Network on Tuesday, bringing an end to his relationship with the far-right website that he helped become widely influential and which in turn abetted his rise as a political adviser and would-be kingmaker.
Bannon’s departure leaves him with no evident platform to promote his views and no financial basis for his preferred candidates.
Bannon left Breitbart in August 2016 to join Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and served as his chief White House strategist. He was fired by Trump almost exactly a year after formally signing up with him.
Bannon maintained his visibility by rejoining Breitbart in August and directing it to serve his political ends as the insurgent voice of the “anti- establishment” wing of the Republican Party, a faction that many critics saw as a socially intolerant and racist fringe of white nationalism.
His departure from Breitbart followed what appears to have been a vote of no confidence from a key supporter and investor in the website, Rebekah Mercer, a wealthy political donor, people at the company said. Mercer and her father, hedgefund billionaire Robert Mercer, own a minority share in Breitbart and are influential voices in its operation.
Bannon provoked ire by making critical comments about Trump and his family to author Michael Wolff in a book, Fire and Fury, published just last week. Bannon is quoted as saying that Trump’s son, Donald Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, engaged in “treasonous” behaviour by secretly meeting with Russian representatives during the campaign to get unflattering information sabout Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump replied to Bannon’s comments with a statement savaging his former confidant. “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” the president said. He later attacked Wolff and the book in a tweet.