Breitbart News is reporting Steve Bannon’s departure as executive chairman of the conservative news agency as his conservative star appears to have dimmed almost as fast as it brightened for the former adviser to President Donald Trump.
Breitbart made the announcement in a brief statement Tuesday. Other news agencies quickly expanded the coverage.
Bannon is stepping down in the wake of a veritable blood feast by anti-Trump media following publication of the controversial Michael Wolff “tell-all” book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” Critics are calling the book “factually challenged,” and Bannon has already backed away from statements attributed to him in the book, in which he was critical of Donald Trump, Jr., and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.
But Bannon’s move may not be in time to salvage his prominence among conservatives. Already there are strong indications he will not be getting warm and fuzzy welcome at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Feb. 21-24.
Fox News’ Todd Starnes writes:
“Last year, Steve Bannon was given a rock star welcome. But this year is a different story.”
Quoting Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU), Starnes reported that while “Bannon has been a good friend to CPAC for a very long time,” he may not be a headliner this year.
“Steve has been a wonderful friend to CPAC. He helped us reinvigorate CPAC. He’s been a real ally,” Schlapp said in an interview on Starnes’ program. “But it’s not everybody’s moment every year to be a speaker at CPAC.”
Bannon released a statement, published in its entirety by CNN Sunday, in which he offers regrets and declared his support for President Trump to be “unwavering.”
“Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man,” Bannon said in his statement. “He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.
“My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda,” he continued, “as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama. President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus. I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breech for this president’s efforts to make America great again.”
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But conservatives have been stunned and dismayed by what appeared to have been an erupting feud between Bannon and the president. Bannon’s exit from the Breitbart chair, and his statement, suggest that he is doing damage control, but is it too late?