WASHINGTON, January 4, 2017: President Donald Trump is firing back against several critical comments made by his former chief strategist Steve Bannon. Bannon was a source for author Michael Wolff’s latest book Fire and Fury.
On Wednesday, Trump says ” Bannon lost his mind” after being ousted from his job.
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” Trump said. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
The White House fights back against Bannon and Fire and Fury
The White House released an official statement from President Trump, right after excerpts of Bannon’s new book came out which allegedly characterized a 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials, in particular, Donald Trump, Jr. and a Russian lawyer as “treasonous.”
Some of the more fanciful claims Bannon makes include:
- Kelly Anne Conway thought Trump would lose the 2016 election, saying she went job hunting
- The president prefers fast food due to his fear of poisoning.
- Bannon says Ivanka Trump, a successful businesswoman, is as “dumb as a brick”.
- Former Ambassador John Bolton lost a job in the Trump Administration because of his mustache.
- P.M. Tony Blair told Trump aides that the British were spying on him
- That Donald Trump did not want to win the presidency and that Melania Trump burst into tears when he did.
- Billionaire Thomas Barrack Jr, one of Trump’s oldest friends, is quoted in the book allegedly telling a friend of the president: “He’s not only crazy, he’s stupid.”
Barrack said he spoke to Wolffe once, says he never said the quote attributed to him to Wolffe or anyone. “Totally false,” Barrack said by phone just now.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 3, 2018
President Trump discredits Steve Bannon and Fire and Fury
Trump later said that Bannon had very little to do with Trump’s presidential victory. The president further says Bannon is responsible for Republican Roy Moore’s Senate loss in Alabama. Bannon, an advocate of hard-line immigration and trade policies dominating Trump’s campaign message, left the administration in August.
Trump also said that Bannon spent his time at the White House “leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was,”
“It is the only thing he does well,” he continued. “Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.”
On Wednesday, The Guardian posts of excerpts from Wolff’s say the author says he was part of more than 200 interviews in his research. However many persons, including Mr. Barrack above, is discrediting that claim.
President Trump’s lawyers issue Cease and Desist against Bannon
Later in the day, a lawyer representing Pres. Trump sent Trump a letter ordering him to cease and desist making derogatory comments about the president and his family and threatening a defamation lawsuit. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders attacked the book attempting to discredit its reporting, calling it “trashy tabloid fiction, filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House.”
Business Insider reports:
Trump’s attorneys reportedly sent a letter to Bannon threatening “imminent” legal action Wednesday night.
“On behalf of our clients, legal notice was issued today to Stephen K. Bannon, that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients,” the attorney Charles Harder said in a statement, according to ABC News. “Legal action is imminent.”
While Trump’s lawyers demanded that the author and publisher of ‘Fire and Fury’ Michael Wolff halt the publication, Henry Holt and Company announced that the book will be on sale tomorrow starting at 9 a.m. moving it from its previous release date of Jan. 9.
As news of the book broke, Conservatives began distancing themselves from the brazen executive chairman of Breitbart Bannon. Several other former Trump White House advisers have spoken out against the claims Bannon has made in the book, including former adviser Sebastian Gorka who went on Fox & Friends and said the book is “full of inaccuracies and lies.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin fired back at the book on Twitter saying: “We have become used to #FakeNews, now we have #FakeBooks!”