Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon planned to issue a statement on Wednesday praising Donald Trump Jr., following reports that he made critical comments about the president's son, but ultimately axed it after President Trump issued a searing statement questioning his mental health.
Two sources familiar with the situation said Bannon decided not to extend an olive branch after the president released his own statement casting his former aide as a self-aggrandizing leaker who "had very little to do" with his victory last November.
The president's statement came hours after author Michael Wolff released an excerpt of his new book in which Bannon allegedly told him Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic."
Bannon had wanted to dispute Wolff's account and reaffirm his support for Trump and his family before the president went nuclear.
But by then, it "just was a moot point," a source close to Bannon told the Washington Examiner.
Several former and current White House officials, in addition to Trump Jr., later piled on after it was clear the president himself had severed ties with Bannon.
"Yes, I used an off-putting metaphor in private type conversation... But the truth about Steve — the internecine leaking & self-aggrandizement — is now plain for all to see," former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci posted on Twitter.
Trump Jr. later retweeted an article describing Bannon's time in the White House as a "nightmare" full of "backstabbing, harassing, leaking [and] lying."
A source close to Bannon told The Hill on Thursday that the fallout between him and Trump was akin to "a family fight" and "they always get back together."
"Although this one could take some time," the source added.
Bannon himself may already be taking steps to repair his relationship with the president.
The conservative firebrand told a caller on his radio program Wednesday night that Trump was "a great man" and someone he supports "day in and day out."
Sarah Westwood contributed to this report.