The White House on Monday made it clear: President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon is in Trump’s bad books for good, after criticizing his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., for meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016.
“I don’t believe there is any way back for Mr. Bannon at this point,” deputy White House press secretary J. Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard Air Force One, according to a pool report. “I just don’t think there’s any way back.”
Gidley called Bannon’s remarks “repugnant” and “grotesque,” and claimed it was “very obvious” he worked with Michael Wolff, the author of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” where Wolff first reported Bannon’s comments.
“When you go after somebody’s family in the matter which he did, two of the President’s children are serving this nation, sacrificing in their service, it is repugnant,” Gidley said. “It is grotesque and I challenge anybody to go and talk about somebody’s family and see if that person doesn’t come back and comes back hard.”
Bannon on Sunday said his remarks calling Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” were actually directed at Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair.
He did not apologize to Trump Jr., but said he has “regret” regarding his two-day delay in responding to initial reports on his remarks.
On Monday, Wolff pushed back on Bannon’s denial.
“I don’t want to put him in more hot water than he is already in, but that statement is false,” Wolff said. “It was not directed at Manafort. It was directed directly at Don Jr.”