US President Donald Trump excoriated his former chief strategist Steve Bannon in a statement claiming that Bannon “lost his mind” after being pushed out from the White House, the media reported.
The White House released the strongly worded 266-word statement on Wenesday night slamming Bannon after excerpts from a new book quoted the former aide as calling the meeting between a Russian lawyer and the President’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”, reports CNN.
“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,” Trump said in the statement.
“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.”
Bannon has not responded to Trump’s claims so far.
Trump’s statement marked the most significant rebuke by the President of his former chief strategist, who since leaving the White House has maintained an influential position as an informal adviser to Trump and a de-facto leader of the President’s populist movement.
“Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country,” Trump said.
Trump also accused Bannon, who has called the mainstream media the “opposition party”, of being too cozy with reporters and spending much of his time inside the White House leaking “false information”, CNN reported.
Bannon only joined Trump’s campaign in an official capacity in August 2016 but the Breitbart News chairman became one of the most influential forces inside the hectic campaign during the most critical periods of Trump’s battle with Hillary Clinton for the presidency.
In his six months inside the White House, Bannon was one of the President’s most influential advisers.
He was pushed out of the White House in August amid retired Gen. John Kelly’s house-cleaning upon taking over as chief of staff.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed on Wednesday that Trump and Bannon spoke as recently as last month — even as she backed up Trump’s claim that Bannon “lost his mind” after he exited the White House.