One of President Trump’s most controversial staffers is leaving the White House amid another massive staff shakeup. Steve Bannon has been relieved of his duties as Trump’s chief strategist .
The White House confirmed in a brief statement that Bannon, a robust populist who often clashed with his West Wing colleagues, would make Friday his last day. Bannon served for just over a year after he joined the Trump presidential campaign.
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”
One White House aide told Fox News the departure was a long time coming, and that Bannon actually submitted his resignation in writing two weeks ago.
This would have been just days after Kelly joined as chief of staff. Kelly was said to have been the driving force in the ouster of former communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and speculation quickly surrounded Bannon as the next one to go.
Sources say Bannon has become increasingly isolated in the White House. Adding to the pressure, some critics also publicly attacked Bannon in the wake of last weekend’s Charlottesville violence, in which a counter-protester was killed at a white nationalist rally. Trump came under fire for his response to that violence, and some blamed Bannon for the tone , though it’s unclear how much influence he had in Trump’s comments.
Bannon formally joined Trump’s team last summer on the campaign trail, when the former head of Breitbart News was tapped as chief executive of the campaign. After Trump won the presidential race, Bannon was appointed to a senior adviser role at the same time Reince Priebus was named chief of staff.
Trump briefly addressed the speculation about Bannon’s future during a wide-ranging Q&A with reporters at Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon.
“I like Mr. Bannon, he’s a friend of mine,” Trump said, while downplaying his impact in the 2016 campaign. “I like him. He’s a good man. He’s not a racist … but we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.”