- Early in the 2016 campaign cycle, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly called Trump a “narcissist.”
- He also admitted in a January 2016 email exchange obtained by Buzzfeed News that he was “totally indifferent” to Trump’s candidacy.
- Trump distanced himself from Bannon on Wednesday after reports emerged that Bannon said that a June 2016 meeting with Trump campaign officials and Russians was “treasonous.”
Just weeks before the Iowa caucuses kicked off the beginning of the Republican primary season ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Steve Bannon ridiculed then-candidate Donald Trump, calling him a “narcissist” and expressing indifference about his candidacy.
The revelations, based on an email exchange between Bannon and several Breitbart News editors in January 2016, come on the heels of a scathing statement in which Trump eviscerated his former chief strategist, saying Bannon has “lost his mind.” Buzzfeed News first reported on the emails Wednesday.
On January 13, 2016, in response to a question from one of his editors about whether the Breitbart staff supported Trump’s candidacy, Bannon replied with a firm, “No.”
“I’m totally indifferent,” Bannon wrote. “I’m darwinian…he who wins, wins.”
In subsequent exchanges with his staff, Bannon called Trump a “narcissist” and said that it was “a joke having [Trump] discuss god” with voters on the campaign trail because “he NEVER asks for forgiveness!”
Despite his criticisms, Bannon would later go on to lead Trump’s campaign and become the president’s chief strategist at the White House. In August, Trump fired Bannon, who then returned to Breitbart as the right-wing news site’s executive chairman.
Earlier on Wednesday, The Guardian published excerpts of the columnist Michael Wolff’s upcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” In it, Wolff quotes Bannon as saying Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser, and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, held what amounted to a “treasonous” meeting with Russian lobbyists at Trump Tower in June 2016.
The report prompted Trump to go on the offensive against Bannon, attempting to distance himself from someone who was at one point one of his most senior advisers.
“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 Wednesday. “Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look.”
“Steve doesn’t represent my base,” Trump added, “he’s only in it for himself.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.