President Donald Trump appeared to paint a brighter picture of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s current posture in his administration, one that has been depicted in recent months as being riddled with deep divisions and infighting among senior staff.
“Bannon is a very decent guy who feels very strongly about the country,” Trump said in a Bloomberg report on Monday. “And they’re getting along fine.”
Although Trump acknowledged there had been some unrest inside of his White House, he attempted to establish that all of the key players; including Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus, counselor Kellyanne Conway, and press secretary Sean Spicer, would be retaining their roles in the administration.
“We have a lot of people that are getting along well,” said Trump. “It’s coming out better now than it was, you know, for a while. And for a while it was a little testy, I guess for some of them, but I said, ‘You’ve got to get your acts together.”
Much of the perceived turmoil at the White House appeared to involve Bannon and Priebus, who attempted to dispel those rumours during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February.
Bannon, a hard-lining conservative with nationalistic leanings, added to the speculation of an imminent departure, when reports surfaced about his alleged conflicts with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
“Here’s the reason there’s no middle ground,” Bannon was alleged to have said to Kushner, according to The New York Times. “You’re a Democrat.”
But a dismissal was already in order for Bannon. On April 4, Bannon was removed from the National Security Council’s principals’ committee, a forum reserved only for high-ranking officials to help shape the president’s intelligence agenda. Bannon’s representatives remain adamant that his position on the committee was only meant to be temporary: he was merely brought on to “deoperationalize” it, and to keep an eye on former national security adviser Mike Flynn, who was eventually fired.
Still, after a “marriage counseling” session between Bannon and Kushner, Trump asserted that Bannon has gotten a “bad rap,”and has resolved his differences amicably with other staff, according to Bloomberg.
“Now, I will tell you, probably people are going to get job offers,” Trump said to Bloomberg. “You know, things happen. But I’m very happy with our group. We’re doing very well.”
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