'Bannon lost his mind,' Trump says as former chief strategist calls meeting with Russians 'treasonous, unpatriotic'
U.S. President Donald Trump slammed his former chief strategist Steve Bannon on Wednesday, hours after the former official called a meeting between Trump's son Donald Trump, Jr. and a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential election campaign as "treasonous" and "unpatriotic."
"Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party," Trump said in a statement.
"Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn't as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country," he added, stating that "Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans.
Saying that Bannon "doesn't represent my base--he's only in it for himself," Trump added that the former official is only pretending to be at war with the media, especially "fake news" media as the real-estate-mogul-turned-president says.
"Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books," Trump added.
"We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down," he concluded.
Bannon, an executive with right-wing news outlet Breitbart News, joined Trump's White House bid two months after the June 9, 2016, meeting between Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Trump campaign officials.
Besides Donald Trump Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and then campaign chairman Paul Manafort attended the meeting at Trump Tower in New York.
Donald Trump Jr. took the meeting with the Russian lawyer after an intermediary promised material that would incriminate Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.