Now that President Trump has effectively cut ties with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, the White House isn’t sure that the two “were ever particularly close.”
During the White House press briefing on Thursday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to dial back on the nature of Bannon and President Trump’s past relationship.
“I’m not aware that they were ever particularly close,” she said. “They’ve spoken a few times since he left the White House, but it’s not like there were regularly scheduled calls and there were certainly no meetings between the two of them.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sanders told reporters that Bannon and Trump last spoke in early December, but on Thursday afternoon Trump told reporters “I don’t talk to him. That’s just a misnomer.”
The honeymoon between Bannon and Trump abruptly ended on Wednesday afternoon, when excerpts from a new book by journalist Michael Wolff were published, revealing critical remarks Bannon had made about Trump’s son and son-in-law and a meeting they had with a Russian lawyer during the campaign. Bannon reportedly said the meeting should be considered “treasonous.”
Trump released a scathing statement hours later, discrediting Bannon and claiming that he had “lost his mind.” Bannon later responded by calling Trump a “great man.”
On Thursday, Sanders also referenced a segment from the book that suggested that Bannon had been “sidelined by April.”
“Which I think goes further to indicate that he had very little credibility to give much information particularly at that point.”
Despite using the book to back up her claims about the President and Bannon not having a close relationship, she then reiterated the White House’s message that the Wolff book was “trash,” saying it was filled with “mistake after mistake after mistake.”