US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, says his support for his former boss is “unwavering” despite the recent fallout between the two.
Bannon came under fire from Trump last week after accusing his son, Donald Jr., of “treason” for meeting a Russian lawyer during the heat of the 2016 US presidential election.
According to excerpts from Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Bannon expressed astonishment over the meeting in Trump Tower in New York in which a Russian lawyer was said to be offering damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The book, reportedly based on more than 200 interviews, was released this week by publisher Henry Holt and Co.
The firebrand journalist, who lost many of his Republican endorsements over the damaging remarks, finally broke his silence on Sunday and expressed “regret” for his remarks.
“Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around,” Bannon said in a statement.
“My support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda,” said Bannon, who returned to his work as the head of far-right news outlet Breitbart News after being fired from the White House last year.
“President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus,” he added, referring to Trump’s Democratic rival in the election, former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
“I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breach for this president’s efforts to make America great again,” Bannon continued.
Trump responded to the accusations by calling Bannon “sloppy” and claiming that he had “lost his mind.”
In his statement, Bannon tried to mend the damage, saying they were addressed to Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager who was also present at the meeting and plays a key role in a high-profile investigation into the Trump team’s “collusion” with Russia.
“My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.,” he wrote.
Trump has blamed Bannon for the book, which sold out on its first day of publication and has raised questions about the 45th US president’s mental health.
Additionally, Trump was reportedly suspicious of Bannon as the man behind the many leaks that have driven the White House into chaos.
Trump removed Bannon from the White House on August 18 from what may have been resulted from an interview that infuriated the US president.