“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” the real estate mogul, 71, tells Us Weekly. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating 17 candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party. Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look.”
Trump says the Breitbart News chairman, 64, “had very little to do with our historic victory,” but had “everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than 30 years by Republicans.”
“Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was,” the former Celebrity Apprentice host adds. “It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.”
Trump’s statement was released after excerpts from journalist Michael Wolff’s upcoming tell-all book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, were published online by The Guardian. In the book, Bannon describes the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Russian operatives as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic,” saying that the FBI should have been called “immediately.”
The news of the meeting has been a central part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump Jr., 40, declined to tell investigators in early December what he and his father discussed about the meeting, citing attorney-client privilege.