Top Trump donor Rebekah Mercer cut ties with Steve Bannon after the former White House chief strategist reportedly said he would rely on Mercers’ financial backing if he ever ran for president.
Mercer, who is Bannon’s primary donor, will not provide financial support for Bannon’s future endeavors, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
After leaving the White House in July 2017, Bannon returned to his previous post as executive chairman of Breitbart News.
“The core constituency for Breitbart is what you would call the Trump Deplorables. That’s the audience. And if they’re asked to choose between Steve and Trump, they’re going to choose Trump. That’s clear,” a source familiar with Breitbart's ownership said, according to the Post.
A person close to Bannon told the Post that he does not plan to run for president.
Mercer was also irritated by Bannon’s role in the Alabama special election last month, where Bannon was vocal about his support for GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore. Furthermore, she was put off by some of his comments in the media because they appeared to incite pointless controversy, the Post reported.
The White House also distanced itself from Bannon on Wednesday, after excerpts from a forthcoming book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff, were published Wednesday and featured unflattering comments from Bannon about Trump’s family.
"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," Trump said in a statement on Wednesday. "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."
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders pushed back against some of the claims made by Bannon in the excerpts, such as the suggestion that Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic." Sanders called the accusation "ridiculous" and said Trump and Bannon have not spoken since early December.