White House Chief strategist and former Breitbart head Steve Bannon railed on a Breitbart reporter who wrote a post attacking Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, prompting questions about his ties to the alt-right media outlet. (Alt-right refers to a movement described by the Associated Press as "racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.")
Axios reported Wednesday that Bannon "exploded" at writer Matt Boyle for stoking media speculation about a feud between Bannon and Priebus, noting that "there are a lot of people on the nationalist right out to get Priebus."
Bannon told CNN on Wednesday that he was "livid" when he saw the report. "Not upset — livid," he said, adding, "The story is totally untrue. Reince is doing a great job. I couldn't ask any more from a partner."
When CNN asked if Bannon had spoken with the outlet before the story was published, he claimed to have "totally cut ties" with Breitbart, not having spoken with the outlet since leaving in August of 2o16.
Whether or not Bannon is still directly connected to Breitbart is unclear. However, as NPR reported in November following President Donald Trump's victory, "Breitbart News can now serve as a voice reflecting the Bannon wing of the new Trump coalition. If desired, Breitbart can serve as its enforcer too."
Nonetheless, Bannon has distanced himself from Boyle's report, telling the Atlantic in an email the story was "absurd," even though Boyle cited "sources close to the president" in his reporting.
The Atlantic noted also that a Washington Republican "with knowledge of the White House" said, "Can you imagine Boyle running this against Bannon's wishes? No chance. He was the editor of Breitbart about fifteen minutes ago. This is just so brazen."
Bannon once touted Boyle as "one of the few reporters in Washington who isn’t afraid to ruffle the feathers of the establishment and relentlessly tell the stories grassroots conservatives care about."