After quotes critical of President Donald Trump’s administration made headlines this week, Breitbart Chairman Steve Bannon is walking back his criticism in a statement to Axios, saying his support for Trump and his agenda is “unwavering.”
“President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus,” wrote Bannon. “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.”
Bannon’s statement comes after the former White House senior adviser was quoted in Michael Wolff’s new book “Fire And Fury: Inside the Trump White House” as saying that a 2016 meeting between the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer was “treasonous.” Two members of Trump’s inner circle, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, also reportedly attended the meeting.
“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers,” Bannon was quoted as saying in the book. “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
The quote made headline news and earned a sharp response on Twitter from both Trump and his son, but in his new statement, Bannon expressed “regret” for his delayed response to Wolff’s book, which he described as “inaccurate reporting,” and praised Trump Jr as “a patriot and a good man” who is “relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.”
Bannon says that Trump Jr. was not his intended target in those comments about the meeting with the Russian lawyer — Manafort was. “My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate,” Bannon said. “He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.”
Although Wolff’s book has Bannon quoted as saying, “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV” in reference to the Mueller investigation, Bannon told Axios in his statement today, “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.”