Donald Trump appears to be trying to placate Steve Bannon, the strategist whom he fired and who subsequently claimed that the “presidency is over”.
Hours after Mr Trump sacked Mr Bannon, the right wing populist returned to his former position as the head of the pro-white nationalist Breitbart News. He said he would use his position to press his agenda.
“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Mr Bannon told the Weekly Standard.
Steve Bannon will be a tough and smart new voice at @BreitbartNews…maybe even better than ever before. Fake News needs the competition!
“We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”
Commentators pointed out that with Mr Bannon declaring himself “free” and with his “hands back on my weapons” at the right-wing new site, he could be an extremely powerful player, and potentially a threat to Mr Trump.
The President, who earlier this week only offered a lukewarm endorsement of the 63-year-old, appeared to have come to that conclusion himself.
Breitbart’s senior-editor-at-large Joel Pollak: With Bannon gone, Trump’s presidency could fail
On Saturday, he said on Twitter: “I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton – it was great! Thanks S.”
Seven hours laterm he followed up with another tweet, that said: “Steve Bannon will be a tough and smart new voice at @BreitbartNews…maybe even better than ever before. Fake News needs the competition!”
The precise circumstances of Mr Bannon’s departure remain unclear. Some say he was fired at the instance of new Chief of Staff John Kelly following a series of clashes with other members of staff, while others said he had handed in his resignation two weeks ago.