Senior White House adviser Steve Bannon celebrated President Donald Trump’s Tuesday press conference, in which he doubled down on his condemnation of “both sides” of the Charlottesville riot Saturday.
Trump faced widespread criticism following the press conference for his insistence that blame lay with all perpetrators of the political violence that occurred in Charlottesville. Bannon, however, saw Trump’s refusal to exclusively condemn the alt-right as a “defining moment” in which Trump chose to side with “his people” over the “globalists,” a source with knowledge told Axios.
“Steve was proud of how [Trump] stood up to the braying mob of reporters,” the source said.
Trump has reportedly considered firing Bannon over tensions between the senior adviser and other administration officials, as well as out of frustration over the credit he receives for crafting Trump’s campaign strategy. Trump has distanced himself from Bannon recently, casting the former Goldman Sachs executive as a leaker.
Despite this recent schism, the pair spoke over the phone Saturday, Sunday and Monday. During one of these conversations Trump reportedly asked Bannon “where does it end” in reference to the leftists’ intent to remove the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville. Trump expressed concern that the groups were on a path to “rewrite history,” a source familiar with the conversations told Axios.
Some in the administration were frustrated by Trump’s insistence on addressing the violence perpetrated across the ideological spectrum. Bannon celebrated what he sees as the avoidance of a trap set by globalists and the mainstream media, who he believes wanted Trump to exclusively condemn the alt-right.
Bannon’s spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
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