The White House on Thursday said that Breitbart should consider firing its executive chairman, Steve Bannon, after excerpts published from a forthcoming book quoted Bannon making a number of incendiary comments about President Trump and his administration.
A reporter asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders during her daily briefing, “Should Breitbart part ways with Steve Bannon?”
“I certainly think that is something they should look at and consider,” Sanders replied.
Bannon joined Trump’s presidential campaign as its CEO in summer 2016, and then served as the White House’s chief strategist until leaving in August of last year and returning to Breitbart.
He drew the White House’s ire this week when The Guardian revealed that author Michael Wolff quoted him in his book “Fire and Fury” as saying the Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign was “unpatriotic” and perhaps “treasonous.”
Trump responded by slamming Bannon in a fiery statement, saying Bannon had “lost his mind.”
Sanders’ comments came amid speculation that Bannon’s future at Breitbart might be in jeopardy.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday night that Bannon had also alienated mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, who owns a share in Breitbart and has funded other Bannon ventures in the past. Larry Solov, the website’s CEO, and Susie Breitbart, the widow of founder Andrew Breitbart, also have an ownership stake in Breitbart.
Then on Thursday morning conservative news heavyweight Matt Drudge, who worked with Andrew Breitbart for years and who has taken shots at Bannon before, stoked the flames. Drudge tweeted that Solov and Susie Breitbart “will take Breitbart into the fresh future.” His website also linked to a story speculating about whether Bannon would survive, asking in his headline, “BREITBART SHAKE-UP?”
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday afternoon that Breitbart’s board members were debating whether or not to oust Bannon. A person familiar with the matter told CNN that there was, indeed, a “hard push” to convince Solov and Susie Breitbart to fire Bannon.
Soon after the Wall Street Journal story, Mercer publicly rebuked Bannon in a rare statement.
“I support President Trump and the platform upon which he was elected,” Mercer said in the statement, which was provided to the Washington Post. “My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements.”
Neither Bannon or a spokesperson for Breitbart provided comment to CNN about his future at Breitbart.
CNNMoney (New York) First published January 4, 2018: 5:55 PM ET
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