In what is shaping up to be one of the all-time great public flameouts, the New York Times reports that ousted Trump adviser Steve Bannon is leaving his position as executive chairman of Breitbart News, a site Bannon once touted as “the platform for the alt-right.” According to the Times, GOP mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, who sits on Breitbart’s board, forced Bannon’s exit after the billionaires cut off his cashflow. Bannon became a liability to the right wing patron after incendiary remarks made to reporter Michael Wolff for his Fire & Fury Trump administration tell-all went public. Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Balhaus tweeted that the Breitbart board, including Rebekah Mercer, her father, Robert Mercer, Breitbart CEO Larry Solov, and Susie Breitbart came to an agreement to oust the former White House chief strategist and gave him the hook on Monday.
“I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform,” Bannon said in a statement posted on the site. Breitbart CEO Larry Solov added: “Steve is a valued part of our legacy, and we will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he has helped us to accomplish.”
Times reporter Kenneth P. Vogel tweeted that Breitbart employees received an internal memo reading “do NOT speak to the media.”
“We will continue doing what we do as well as anybody in the world,” the memo reportedly read, “and that is report the news.”
Internal announcement to @BreitbartNews staff instructs employees “do NOT speak to the media.” Adds an attempt at reassurance: “We will continue doing what we do as well as anybody in the world, and that is report the news.” https://t.co/00NLzmPPn9
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) January 9, 2018
“I’ve gone from being sympathetic to Steve to believing he’s a genuinely bad guy, totally duplicitous,” a former White House ally told Axios. “It’s a shame. He has a lot of talent. But his self-destructive streak is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”
Bannon’s post-White House downfall has been swift and severe. His crusade to overthrow establishment Republicans blew up in his face when he failed to get Roy Moore elected to Jeff Sessions’s vacant Senate seat in December. After remarks where Bannon called Donald Trump Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting “treasonous” broke, the Mercers announced that they had cut off his funding and distanced themselves from him months ago. From the Times:
The Mercers were blunt on Thursday in cutting the cord, reiterating support for Mr. Trump while disavowing Mr. Bannon’s remarks and disowning his political endeavors. “My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements,” Rebekah Mercer, Mr. Mercer’s daughter, said in a statement. “I have a minority interest in Breitbart News and I remain committed in my support for them.”
Now that Bannon is completely radioactive, it looks like he’s going to have to pack up his cargo shorts and move out of the so-called “Breitbart embassy” in Capitol Hill.
UPDATE: Shortly after news of Bannon’s Breitbart exit broke, SiriusXM announced that he would no longer hosting his radio show.
Bannon not hosting the Sirius show anymore either pic.twitter.com/NNCUavBIGe
— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) January 9, 2018