Dubai – US President Donald Trump continues firing mood and the latest on Friday was Stephen Bannon, who was his chief strategist in the latest high-level White House shake-up, removing a powerful and controversial figure known for far-right political views.
Bannon was a force behind some of Trump’s most contentious policies, including a travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations, and has fought with more moderate factions inside a White House riven with rivalries and back-stabbing.
His ouster comes with the president, seven months into his term in office, increasingly isolated over his comments following white supremacist violence in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville last Saturday.
As Trump came under fire from prominent fellow Republicans, business leaders and US allies abroad, he faced mounting calls for Bannon’s ouster.
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Friday. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”
A champion of economic nationalism and a political provocateur, Bannon, 63, is a former US Navy officer, Goldman Sachs investment banker and Hollywood movie producer.
Bannon had been in a precarious position before but Trump opted to keep him, in part because his chief strategist played a major role in his 2016 election victory and is backed by many of the president’s most loyal rank-and-file supporters.
The decision to fire Bannon could undermine Trump’s support among far-right voters but might ease tensions within the White House and with party leaders. Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress, but have been unable to pass major legislative goals, including a health care legislation overhaul because of fierce intra-party divisions. – firstname.lastname@example.org