Just when you thought the relationship between President Donald Trump and former top aide Steve Bannon couldn't get any weirder, on Jan. 3, the duo's long-simmering and much-queried feud ratcheted up a couple billion notches in response to a newly published excerpt from a forthcoming book by media columnist Michael Wolff.
The excerpt from Wolff's new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, was published just before noon by New York Magazine; but shortly before the story went live, a curtain raiser went up on The Guardian that highlighted the many nasty things that one Steve Bannon had to say about the current administration. Within hours, the White House issued a response, which you can read in full below (and warning, yes, it's exactly what you might expect it would be):
"Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.
Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn't as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn't represent my base — he's only in it for himself.
Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he 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. 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.
We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down."
That's right; the President of the United States of America has no qualms about throwing his former aide, whom he once called "a good man," completely under the bus. While "he lost his mind" might not be the worst insult Trump has thrown at a former friend, it can definitely be seen as the first shot in what will almost certainly be a far more public and aggressive war between the two men. And now, of course, it's up to Bannon to decide what happens next — and you can bet we'll have a bucket of popcorn at the ready as this drama continues to unfold.