President Trump slammed his former chief strategist just hours after excerpts of a forthcoming book about the presidency revealed Steve Bannon had made disparaging comments about Trump's family and personal habits.
"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."
Trump said Bannon "is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look," referring to Bannon's failed efforts to promote Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, whose campaign imploded late last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenagers.
"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," Trump said. "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."
The book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff, quickly generated buzz on Wednesday due to Bannon's comments about Trump's family, including his claim that Donald Trump Jr.'s decision to meet with Russians during the campaign was "treasonous."
"We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda," Trump said in the statement responding to Wolff's book. "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."
Bannon left the administration last summer, shortly after chief of staff John Kelly took over the West Wing.