It already may be too late, but former White House strategist Steve Bannon—who had come so far in Trump’s world only to fall so hard—seems to be regretting things he said about the Trumps that appeared in Michael Wolff’s tell–all book Fire and Fury.
Bannon was quoted in the book as calling the infamous Trump Tower meeting between the president’s inner circle—including son Don Jr. and son–in–law Jared Kushner—and Russian operatives “treasonous” and “unpatriotic. According to Wolff, Bannon also said, “The chance Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.”
Don Jr. already could be in hot water with Special Counsel Robert Mueller over that meeting and for lying about it repeatedly after The New York Times broke the story. But this particular comment by Bannon could get the president into even more legal trouble should Mueller find out it’s true that Trump met with the Russians after the meeting and then helped draft a misleading statement to the press afterward.
Bannon has lost his way so much with the Trumps that the president christened him with his own derogatory nickname—“Sloppy Steve”—although that had been recycled from one already used on filmmaker Michael Moore.
“Sloppy Steve,” President Trump wrote on Twitter, “cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad!”
Bannon’s billionaire backers—the Mercer family—also distanced themselves from him and reaffirmed their support of President Trump, which may help explain Bannon’s new change of heart.
In situations like these, when your money flow has been cut off and you’ve arrogantly backed an accused pedophile in a losing GOP Senate race in a red state, there’s only one thing left to do: grovel, beg, and shamelessly kiss up to the Trump family, which is what every other Republican is doing anyway.
In a statement to Axios, Bannon expressed “regret” for criticizing the Trumps, especially Don Jr.
“Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around,” Bannon said. “My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda — as I have shown daily in my national radio broadcasts, on the pages of Breitbart News and in speeches and appearances from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Arizona and Alabama.”
Bannon claimed he was “the only person” to “preach the message of Trump” globally. Then, Sloppy Steve blamed his loose lips on “life experiences” in the Navy and a (failed) career as a so–called filmmaker.
Despite mentioning Don Jr. by name in Fire and Fury, Bannon now says he was talking about former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who Mueller indicted on multiple felony charges, including money laundering.
“My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr,” Bannon said in his statement to Axios.
He threw in some gratuitous Trump boot–licking for good measure: “I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”
As Axios pointed out, Bannon is just as stubborn as Trump, and issuing such a debasing mea culpa must have been humiliating.
Meanwhile, Don Jr. hasn’t yet responded to Bannon’s comments as of this posting because he is busy ice fishing.