Steve Bannon's role in Trump's inner circle in jeopardy, sources say

WASHINGTON -- There’s been something of a Cold War inside the White House.

It appears President Trump is putting some distance between himself and his most controversial adviser, Steve Bannon.

Bannon is the former right-wing media executive who’s been the author of Mr. Trump’s darkest rhetoric.

Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, took a seat in the front row of Mr. Trump’s news conference Wednesday, but sources close to the president say Bannon’s role in Mr. Trump’s inner circle is in jeopardy.

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From left, White House Senior Counselor for Economic Initiatives Dina Powell, President Trump’s White House Senior Adviser Steve Bannon, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and President Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus attend a news conference with Mr. Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the East Room at the White House, Wed., April 12, 2017, in Washington.

AP

“There’s a new political order that’s being formed,” Bannon said during the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year.

Clashes with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, have angered Mr. Trump, as was evident in an interview Tuesday with the New York Post.

“Steve is a good guy, but I told them to straighten it out or I will,” Mr. Trump said, after ordering a Bannon-Kushner truce late last week.

Mr. Trump also tried to minimize Bannon’s influence.

“I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late,” Mr. Trump said.

“I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve,” the president said. “I’m my own strategist.”

In fact, Mr. Trump was well acquainted with Bannon before he became campaign CEO in August.

Bannon interviewed candidate Trump on Breitbart News more than 10 times starting in November 2015.

All this comes amid another high-profile White House controversy concerning White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

“You had a, someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to the -- to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Spicer tried to apologize for clumsily comparing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s recent use of sarin nerve gas to Adolf Hitler’s actions during the Holocaust.

“To make a gaffe and a mistake like this is inexcusable and reprehensible,” Spicer said. “On a professional level it’s disappointing because I think I’ve let the president down.”