Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s groveling apology on Sunday was apparently insufficient to soothe President Donald Trump’s fury over revelations from Michael Wolff’s bombshell book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.
Politico reported Sunday night that the mood inside the White House remains icy toward Bannon, in spite of a uncharacteristically humble statement that Bannon released on Sunday apologizing to Trump and his family.
“(I)nside the White House, Bannon’s 297-word statement of contrition about comments he made in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House was seen as too little, too late for an operative unaware of the self-inflicted damage his hubris could cause,” wrote Politico’s Annie Karni.
The president is reportedly still enraged at Bannon, as are many of his former colleagues in the West Wing. When asked whether Bannon’s words of contrition will be enough to win back the president’s favor, an adviser curtly said, “Unlikely.”
Bannon’s allies — those who remain after Trump urged his funders to cut him off — are now left worrying if the president will side with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and ignore the so-called “populist” wing of far-right agitators who flocked to Bannon.
“The problem for Steve is that we were already into January 2018, and he doesn’t really have a system, he doesn’t have a fund, he doesn’t have a political team,” said Trump booster Matthew Schlapp of the American Conservative Union. “Now it’s going to take extra time to make things up, if he’s able to, and repair the trust he had with the president. The clock is no longer on his side.”
Bannon allies told Politico that he hesitated to speak out because the Breitbart.com CEO doesn’t remember saying that things that Wolff has attributed to him. His apology was reportedly further delayed by an attack by Trump on Twitter.
The president shows no signs of backing down in this fight. Anyone who has made a study of Trump will be familiar with how the former reality TV star prizes loyalty above all other qualities in the people around him.
Bannon was roundly mocked on Sunday for appearing to debase himself by asking for Trump’s forgiveness. The move came after a week in which powerhouse GOP donor Rebekah Mercer followed her father’s example and cut her funding to Bannon, releasing a chilly statement to the Washington Post and the Breitbart.com board reportedly considered firing Bannon for damaging their brand.