Steve Bannon, the right-wing nationalist who has been US President Donald Trump’s most controversial advisor, has left the White House.
The White House released a statement that said John Kelly, the president’s all-powerful chief of staff, and Bannon had “mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day”.
But the reports also cited sources close to Bannon who insisted the controversial chief strategist had submitted his resignation as long as two weeks ago, but that his departure had been delayed by furore surrounding the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Bannon had long been a lightning rod for criticism of Trump’s government – while he has been largely credited for inspiring the nationalist stance that helped the billionaire real estate mogul win the election, Bannon has also been called a racist and anti-Semite. He is the former head of Brietbart News, the so-called alt-right news site that’s frequently accused of pandering to white supremacists and conspiracy theorists.
Tweeters had a field day after news of Bannon’s exit broke first on the Drudge Report, with memes quickly springing up mocking the White House’s revolving door when it came to senior staff.
His exit, though, was not entirely surprising, most reports noted. Bannon was on poor terms with the rest of Trump’s administration, and White House watches had expected Kelly, who was brought in by Trump to calm the apparent disharmony among his leadership team, to attempt to remove Bannon.
Trump himself was equivocal when asked this week about Bannon’s tenure. Although he defended him as “a friend” and “not a racist”, he concluded by saying “We’ll see what happens with Mr Bannon”.
The New York Post reported that Bannon was expected to rejoin Breitbart.