With President Trump lashing out via twitter again this morning at the “Fake Book” – referring, obviously, to Michael Wolff’s “Fire And Fury” – as he departed Camp David, the news coverage of the book’s contents is set to continue into its second week.
I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author. Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2018
And as the president works the phones, demanding that his political allies help him bury “Sloppy Steve” in retaliation for his former chief strategist’s disloyalty, Bannon is now desperately trying to get back in the president’s good graces.
In recent days, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have run stories about Bannon’s political allies and patrons distancing themselves from the Breitbart executive and former Trump campaign chairman. The billionaire Mercer family told the Times that it has retracted all financial backing for Bannon and that they’re weighing whether to fire Bannon from his role as executive chairman at Breitbart. They reportedly have stopped payment on his personal security detail.
Of course, the climax took place last week when Trump in a statement declared that Bannon had “lost his mind”, meanwhile the White House has maintained that Wolff had little access to the president and that most of the book’s claims are merely gossip.
So with Bannon’s political future in jeopardy, Axios reports that the famously obstinate political operative is trying to get back on Trump’s good side by drafting an apology letter to be delivered to the president.
In his statement, Bannon praises Donald Trump Jr. (whom he repeatedly mocked and disparaged in Wolff’s book) and laments that his delay in responding may have distracted from the president’s recent “historic” successes. Instead of taking aim at Don Jr. and other Trump family members like son-in-law Jared Kushner, Bannon said his negative comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, who has already been indicted by the Mueller investigation.
“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.”
“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.”
“President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus. I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breech for this president’s efforts to make America great again.”
“My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years when our focus was the defeat of ‘the evil empire’ and to making films about Reagan’s war against the Soviets and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in selling uranium to them.”
“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.”
“Everything I have to say about the ridiculous nature of the Russian ‘collusion’ investigation I said on my 60 Minutes interview. There was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt.”
“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.”
In the book, Steve Bannon allegedly described Don Jr’s Trump Tower meeting with Russians as “treasonous and unpatriotic” and said he would “crack like an egg” under the pressure of the Russia investigation. Furthermore, Bannon said there’s “zero” chance Trump didn’t know about the meeting and that Trump Jr. probably walked them up to his father’s office.
So what happens next?
Axios expects Trump Jr. to “graciously accept Bannon’s apology”, but we’re not so sure: Trump is reportedly still working the phones trying to outmaneuver his former employee, and the president who is far more famous for his use of the word “fired” than “re-hired”, certainly isn’t known for having a forgiving temperament.
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