Once dubbed 'The Great Manipulator,' Trump’s senior adviser steps back in bid to save his job.
Steve Bannon was absent from President Donald Trump’s recent trips to Europe for the G-20 summit and from his visit French president Emmanuel Macron. | Brendan Smialowski/AFP Photo/Getty Images
Steve Bannon has largely disappeared from the White House’s most sensitive policy debates — a dramatic about-face for an operative once characterized as the most powerful man in Washington.
Bannon, chastened by internal rivalries and by President Donald Trump’s growing suspicion that he is looking out for his own interests, is in a self-imposed exile, having chosen to step back from Trump’s inner circle for the sake of self-preservation, according to several White House advisers who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering a colleague.
He was absent from Trump’s recent trips to Europe for the G-20 summit and from his visit with French president Emmanuel Macron. Bannon’s non-attendance is all the more noteworthy given his interest in European history and politics, particularly his antipathy to the European Union.
And while Trump’s rousing call in Warsaw for the defense of Western civilization echoed the populist ideology Bannon promoted as chief of the right-wing website Breitbart News, two senior White House aides said that Bannon had no hand in crafting Trump’s populist address. He did not participate in administration conference calls planning the remarks, they say, which were largely written by chief speechwriter Stephen Miller, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and NSC communications aide Michael Anton.
“His name wasn’t even mentioned,” said a senior White House aide involved in the speechwriting process.
Whereas Bannon was, not long ago, a near-constant presence in the Oval Office — often seen standing over Trump’s shoulder or sitting in on calls with world leaders — he now spends hours camped out at the conference table in the office of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, reading the news or working on his phone, according to a senior White House aide.