President Donald Trump complained about chief White House strategist Steve Bannon at a private dinner with 21st Century Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch, the New York Times reported on Monday.
The New York Times reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with their conversation, that Murdoch urged Trump to get rid of Bannon, and that the President offered little protest, instead venting about his chief strategist.
According to the report, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his newly minted chief of staff John Kelly also attended Trump’s and Murdoch’s dinner at the White House before the President left for a “working vacation” early in August.
CNN reported on Sunday, citing two unnamed sources with direct knowledge, that Trump and Murdoch had a private dinner at the White House a day after the end of Anthony Scaramucci’s whirlwind tenure as Trump’s communications director.
The New York Times also cited a dozen unnamed “current and former Trump aides and associates with knowledge of the situation” who said Kelly made his displeasure with Bannon clear and told top White House staffers he would not tolerate Bannon’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering.
Scaramucci on Sunday said Bannon’s influence was “not serving the President’s interests.”
“I think the President knows what he’s going to do with Steve Bannon,” Scaramucci said cryptically, and declined to clarify beyond adding, “It’s his decision, but I mean, at the end of the day I think the President has a very good idea of who the leakers are inside the White House.”
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster ducked multiple questions about whether he would be willing to work with Bannon, saying only, “I believe that everyone who works in the White House, who has the privilege, the great privilege every day of serving their nation, should be motivated by that goal.”