President Trump said Thursday that he no longer talks to Steve Bannon, and accused reporters of exaggerating their relationship a day after his legal team sent a cease-and-desist letter to the former White House chief strategist over remarks he made about Trump's son.
"I don't talk to him. That's just a misnomer," Trump told the press during a meeting with Republican senators at the White House.
Trump dictated a stunning statement about Bannon to members of his communications team on Wednesday that described his former staffer as unimportant and said he "lost his mind" when he left the White House last August.
"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," Trump said in the statement. He added that Bannon is "only in it for himself."
The harsh rebuke of his former aide came amid the release of excerpts from a new book about the Trump administration, in which Bannon told author Michael Wolff that Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. was "treasonous" for accepting a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya during the 2016 campaign after being told she had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Bannon tried to make amends after his fallout with Trump during a radio segment Wednesday evening. "The president is a great man... I support him day in and day out," he told one caller.
Trump, who ordered his lawyers to send a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon late Wednesday, pointed to the Breitbart chairman's praise on Thursday as evidence of his hypocrisy.
"He called me a great man last night, so he obviously changed his tune very quick," Trump said.