White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday night said that President Donald Trump has been trying to make it clear that he has been setting the policy agenda with his recent lukewarm comments about White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
“I think he values Steve’s commitment to the team and helping to advance his agenda. But I think he also wants to make sure that everybody understands when you look back in the 1980s and the 1990s, the policies that this president is now espousing and championing here in terms of trade policies, economic policies, they’re policies that he’s held in some cases for two, three, four decades,” Spicer said on Fox News when asked about Trump’s recent comments about Bannon.
“And then he wants to make sure that he’s very clear that he won this election because of the policies that he’s been laying out for decades and the commitment that he’s had to the American worker, to growing our economy and keeping our country safe,” Spicer continued. “And I think the line has been blurred up a little bit. He wanted to make it very clear. But at the same time, express confidence in the team that’s here and the talent that he has assembled.”
Bannon was recently removed from the National Security Council’s Principals Committee, and the move was followed by a flurry of reports that Bannon’s influence in the White House is waning. Amid infighting in the administration, Trump reportedly had to sit Bannon down with Jared Kushner and other White House aides and tell them to work it out.
When asked about those reports in two interviews this week, Trump appeared to distance himself from Bannon.
“I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late,” Trump told the New York Post when asked if he had confidence in Bannon. “I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve. I’m my own strategist and it wasn’t like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary.”
“Steve is a good guy, but I told them to straighten it out or I will,” Trump added to the Post in an interview published Tuesday night.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Wednesday, Trump said that the reports on Bannon were “overblown” but described Bannon merely as a “a guy who works for me.” Trump again said that he was his “own strategist.”