Conservative media outlet Breitbart News on Tuesday announced that Steve Bannon is stepping down as Breitbart’s executive chairman.
“Bannon and Breitbart will work together on a smooth and orderly transition,” the outlet announced in a statement.
Bannon in the statement said he is “proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform.”
The New York Times first reported Bannon’s departure, and reported that conservative mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, who is a part owner of Breitbart and sits on its board, was behind Bannon’s ouster.
Mercer last week rebuked Bannon for his “recent actions and statements,” an apparent reference to remarks Bannon made that journalist Michael Wolff quoted in his book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
“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,” Mercer said.
Mercer told the Washington Post that she was committed to supporting Breitbart News, though that support did not appear to extend to Bannon.
Wolff reported that Bannon, formerly President Donald Trump’s campaign CEO and White House chief strategist, called Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”
According to Wolff, Bannon said that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, which is investigating Russian interference into the 2016 election, would “crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”
Bannon on Sunday tried to walk his remarks back, and claimed they were directed at Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort rather than Trump Jr., who he called “a patriot and a good man.”
Wolff pushed back on Bannon’s denial on Monday.
“I don’t want to put him in more hot water than he is already in, but that statement is false,” Wolff said of Bannon. “It was not directed at Manafort. It was directed directly at Don Jr.”
The White House on Monday made Bannon’s status as a persona non grata clear: “I don’t believe there is any way back for Mr. Bannon at this point,” deputy White House press secretary J. Hogan Gidley said. “I just don’t think there’s any way back.”
This post has been updated.