Steve Bannon, Breitbart Head-Turned-Trump Advisor, Exits the White House

By Akiba Solomon and Sameer Rao Aug 18, 2017

Steve Bannon either resigned or was fired from his role of chief strategist to President Donald Trump this afternoon (August 18). "We are grateful for his service and wish him the best," confirmed White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a statement cited by The Associated Press.

Bannon, a key figure in the so-called alt-right and former chair of Breitbart News, has been the subject of sustained criticism from racial and social justice organizations, Democratic lawmakers and opponents within Trump’s White House. 

While Bannon defines himself as a non-racist "conservative" and an "economic nationalist," he is known for using Breitbart as a platform for the White supremacist "alt-right." The movement has been cast as an army of internet trolls, but the "Unite the Right" events in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12 exemplify the movement’s potential for horrific violence—a potential that critics say Trump has legitimized by refusing to unequivocally condemn neo-Nazis, "alt-right" figures and other White supremacists. Bannon was an architect of the so-called Muslim ban, once co-wrote a stereotype-ridden hip-hop musical and most recently praised Trump’s contention that the violence in Charlottesville was the fault of "both sides."

Groups such as Credo Action, The Women’s March and Color of Change pressed for Bannon’s ouster before and after Charlottesville. These and other advocacy and political organizations responded to Bannon’s ouster with calls for two more of the administration’s White supremacists, Sebastian Gorka and Steve Miller, to go. Hear what four of them have to say today:

Statement from The Women’s March: 
"This week has been a deeply dark chapter in our nation’s history, but Steve Bannon being fired today is proof of the might of the American people and the power of our united voices. Today we saw the impact of a powerful statement: cowardly Klansman, despicable Nazis, or racist White supremacist[s] have no place in our nation’s highest office.

"Over the past six months, we’ve seen people take to the streets of D.C. to demand justice on behalf of Philando Castile and rush to airports across the country to protest the Muslim ban. We’ve seen more women deciding to run for office than ever before. We called on the Trump Administration to rid the White House of those who unapologetically personify the evil that is White supremacy, and today we pushed out one of its most controversial and polarizing figures

"Today was a major step, but our work is not done. We remain committed to ridding the White House of all the White supremacists that currently occupy it and the harmful policies they concoct to harm our communities. It’s time to Clean Out the White House. #CleanOutWH."

Statement from CREDO political director Mushred Zaheed: 
"’In a normal administration, an Anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, White supremacist, alleged domestic abuser like Steve Bannon never would have been hired in the first place,’ CREDO Political Director Murshed Zaheed said. ‘It is telling that Trump is firing Steve Bannon not because he’s a racist, but because he was stealing the media spotlight from another narcissistic White supremacist,’ Zaheed continued, adding, ‘Even after Bannon’s departure, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will remain the White Supremacists’ House as long as Stephen Miller, Sebastian Gorka and the Nazi terrorist cheerleader-in-chief Donald Trump continue to occupy the Oval Office.’"

Emailed statement from Color of Change executive director Rashad Robinson
"Stephen Bannon is an unrepentant bigot and the media godfather of the alt-right. His removal from the White House—which we have demanded for months—is long overdue. But it is not enough.

“Since his campaign, we have been calling out Trump for blowing a bullhorn to White supremacists, and that has not changed with Bannon’s ouster. Trump continues to employ far-right and Nazi sympathizers, like Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka, at taxpayer expense. He continues to tweet about the ‘beauty’ of monuments to those who would rather die than see the end of slavery. And he continues to enjoy the praise of Nazi organs like the Daily Stormer for his comments on Charlottesville.

“Bannon is only the beginning. If we want White supremacy out of the White House, the administration’s #1 racist—Donald Trump—needs to go, too.”

Statement from African American Mayors Association president Mayor Toni Harp:
“As more information about the events in Charlottesville becomes available, it is clear that the response from President Trump has been inadequate and disappointing. If we cannot count on this Administration to unequivocally disavow such vile hate groups, state and local governments must lead the way.

“I urge all mayors and governors to adopt AAMA’s five point response plan which calls for: the immediate removal of Confederate and Nazi symbols; the removal from federal office Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller whose ideological extremism emboldens white supremacists; the provision of additional resources for law enforcement to identify hate groups; all corporations to stop the dissemination of tools of hate on their platforms; and for all public officials to disavow hate and racial violence as a prerequisite for running for office.”

The White House website’s press page has yet to release a statement on Bannon’s exit. 

*Post has been updated since publication to account for conflicting news about the terms of Bannon’s exit.