Steve Bannon, the chief strategist of Donald Trump and controversial extreme right-wing activist has left his post after eight months of controversy. In a statement, the Trump administration said the decision was “by mutual agreement”.
The so-called “alt-right” has sparked a crisis within the White House after the president failed to condemn the consortium of right-wing groups protesting this past week in Charlottesville, VA. Bannon helped build the “alt-right” website Breitbart before entering politics. He will be returning to the website as an editor, where it is not known just how tough he will ultimately be on the Trump administration.
Long before the events of Charlottesville, Bannon had clashed with other elements of the administration, particularly Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. With a new Chief of Staff at the White House, Bannon had already tendered his resignation, but the Charlottesville incident complicated the timing of the announcement.
Bannon, 63, has been an investment banker for Goldman Sachs as well as a film producer, but recently he was known for working for Breitbart, a nexus of the alt-right. Although Trump never publicly supported these movements, Bannon’s nomination was seen as offering tacit approval.
In a bizarre interview this week with liberal outlet American Prospect, Bannon criticized his colleagues in the administration as well as aspects of the alt-right movement. Radical right-wing activists, neo-Nazis, and supporters or members of the Ku Klux Klan who have gained so much prominence since the American election campaign were called “clowns.”
The exit of Bannon is the most recent in a long list. Recently Anthony Scaramucci departed, after 10 days of being named Director of Communications. Shortly before that Reince Priebus exited as well as Sean Spicer.