Washington, Aug 19 (IANS) White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has left President Donald Trump’s administration, media reports said.
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders confirmed in a brief statement on Friday.
Trump told his advisers on Friday morning that he had decided to fire Bannon, the New York Times reported.
But people close to the now ex-chief strategist told the Times that Bannon himself had made the decision and had submitted his resignation to Trump on August 7.
Bannon, the former editor of the far-right news website Breitbart, once described that right-wing news outlet as a platform for the “alt-right”, a term that has become associated with white supremacy.
As chief strategist, he is believed to have pushed for Trump’s travel ban on refugees and citizens from several Muslim-majority countries and to have urged him to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, Efe news reported.
His presence in the White House then became even more contentious after a white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last week turned violent following clashes between far-right and counter-protestors.
The rally, attended by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, was in protest over the removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Confederate Army in the 19th-century American Civil War.
One woman was killed when a suspected far-right sympathiser drove a car into a crowd of counter-protestors.
Bannon attacked white nationalists as “clowns” and said: “Ethno-nationalism — it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.”
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