Steve Bannon, one of the most extreme white nationalists in President Donald Trump’s orbit, is leaving his post as Trump’s chief strategist, the White House confirmed on Friday. White supremacy, though, isn’t going anywhere.
From the New York Times, which was one of the first to report the news:
The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.
As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.
In the days following the white nationalist terror in Charlottesville, VA, Trump had been under renewed pressure to fire Bannon—whose role had long been a lightning rod for controversy due to his role at Breitbart News, his affinity for extremist rhetoric, and his associations with ultra-nationalist movements.
On Tuesday, during a rambling, deranged press conference in which he defended the KKK members and white nationalists who participated in last weekend’s racist violence, Trump refused to comment on Bannon’s future in the White House, instead calling him “a friend of mine,” and “not a racist.”
During his time in the White House, Bannon was involved in a number of Trump’s most extreme initiatives, including the Muslim travel ban, the ongoing campaign against immigrants, and the president’s long-promised wall along the country’s southern border.
According to earlier reports, Trump has been fearful of removing Bannon—a powerful figure in both the ultra-nationalist community for his connection to the Breitbart News network and his association with the hard-right billionaire conservative backer Robert Mercer.
“The president obviously is very nervous and afraid of firing him,” a source close to the situation told Reuters on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, with newly installed Chief of Staff John Kelly running the West Wing, Bannon’s ouster seemed, to many, inevitable, with Axios reporting on Friday morning—before news of his firing had broken—that many in the White House were asking “when” and not “if.”
Still, as has been demonstrated already, simply being fired from this White House is no guarantee that the president won’t continue to seek input from his former aides. And, according to sources who spoke with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Bannon will “continue fighting for POTUS’s agenda inside or outside” the administration.
Already, one report indicated Bannon plans to return to Breitbart, following his White House departure. Already, Breitbart appears ready to welcome their former leader back in the fold, with Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak tweeting simply: #WAR.
With Bannon gone, the only white supremacists left in the White House are...everyone else.