Political observers have been scrambling to parse President Donald Trump’s latest words about rumoured fighting within his administration.
Trump appeared to be gradually distancing himself from White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who has been seen as increasingly isolated in the West Wing.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Wednesday, Trump seemed to dismiss Bannon, an aide and campaign confidante he has known for at least five years, describing him simply as “a guy who works for me.”
The president echoed comments he made in the New York Post on Tuesday. In that interview, Trump attempted to diminish Bannon’s role in his 2016 election campaign, saying Bannon “was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors and I didn’t know Steve.”
“I’m my own strategist and it wasn’t like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary.”
Bannon signed on as Trump’s campaign chairman in August.
Despite rumblings that Bannon’s West Wing days may be numbered, the administration has insisted everything is fine. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the rumours of a rift between Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law-turned-top-adviser, Jared Kushner, were “overblown.”
Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, also rejected the rumours.
But, if Trump’s recent equivocations on Bannon and a New York Times report asserting that one of Bannon’s allies is exploring post-White House options for him are an indication, Bannon’s future in the Trump administration is anything but certain.
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