WASHINGTON – Steve Bannon has stepped down as executive chairman of Breitbart News, the right-wing news website said on Tuesday, after he drew fire from President Donald Trump for comments that harshly criticized Trump's eldest son.
Bannon was quoted in a new book about the Trump White House as calling Donald Trump Jr. "treasonous" and "unpatriotic" for meeting during the 2016 presidential campaign with a Russian lawyer who was said to have damaging information on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Steve Bannon is leaving his post at Breitbart News, less than a week after comments attributed to him in "Fire and Fury" were published; once one of the most influential staffers in the White House, he is now a conservative pariah. https://t.co/yIgrJ2J0fF pic.twitter.com/VCd3z6Q9w6— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 9, 2018
The comments drew a furious response from President Trump, who said Bannon "had lost his mind."
Bannon later said his "treasonous" comment was directed at a former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who also attended the meeting at Trump Tower. The author of the book, Michael Wolff, disputed Bannon's account.
Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," characterized Trump as mentally unstable, inept and unprepared for the presidency.
Bannon joined Breitbart in 2012 and helped raise the profile of the news site, which he once called the platform for the so-called alt-right, a loose confederation of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.
"I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform," Bannon said in a statement cited by Breitbart News.
Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Breitbart Chief Executive Larry Solov, in a statement on the organization's website, called Bannon "a valued part of our legacy."
"We will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he has helped us to accomplish," Solov said.