On Tuesday, Breitbart News announced that Stephen K. Bannon had stepped down from his post as executive chairman at the network. Other outlets reported that a top donor had forced Bannon out, after a turbulent week of revelations from Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House and insults from President Donald Trump.
“I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building a world-class news platform,” Bannon said in a statement Tuesday. He provided no explanation for why he was stepping down.
“Steve is a valued part of our legacy, and we will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he has helped us accomplish,” said Breitbart CEO Larry Solov. The outlet announced that “Bannon and Breitbart will work together on a smooth and orderly transition.”
According to the New York Times‘ Jeremy W. Peters, Bannon was forced out by his onetime financial patron Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of hedgefund magnate Robert Mercer.
Wolff’s book, published last Friday, reported that Bannon called a meeting between members of the Trump campaign and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya “treasonous.” Bannon also reportedly predicted that special prosecutor Robert Mueller would “crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”
Trump quickly disowned Bannon, saying, “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.” He gave Bannon a monicker — “sloppy Steve.”
Bannon left the Trump White House in August of last year. His candidate in the Alabama Senate race, Roy Moore, experienced an agonizing defeat after allegations of sexual assault ravaged his campaign.
Bannon represented a “populist” push in the Republican Party associated with Donald Trump, but he took that movement in a different direction after leaving the Trump White House. This exile from Breitbart suggests once and for all that his brand of populism depended on the media persona of Donald Trump. Without Trump, Bannon cratered.
There is no word yet as to whether Bannon is still planning to mount populist challenges to Republican candidates in the 2018 primaries, but it seems his star has fallen.