President Donald Trump wished his former chief strategist Steve Bannon well upon his return to the conservative website Breitbart News, tweeting Saturday, “Fake News needs the competition!”
Bannon will be a “tough and smart new voice @BreitbartNews … maybe even better than ever before,” Trump wrote.
Bannon will be executive chairman of Breitbart — a position he held before he left to advise Trump’s presidential campaign and then joined the White House, where he was one of the President’s most controversial advisers — and the man generally perceived as the driving force behind Trump’s “nationalist” ideology.
Trump’s tweet on Bannon was the second he posted Saturday about his former chief strategist. Earlier in the day, the President tweeted: “I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton – it was great! Thanks S.”
Sources told told CNN that Bannon’s ouster had been in the works for two weeks, and a source said that while Bannon was given the option to resign, he was ultimately forced out. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that the decision for him to leave was mutual.
Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow welcomed Bannon back in a statement, saying that Breitbart had “gained an executive chairman with his finger on the pulse of the Trump agenda.”
In an interview with the The Weekly Standard, Bannon said: “I feel jacked up. Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, ‘It’s Bannon the Barbarian.’ I am definitely going to crush the opposition.
Bannon said he built a machine at Breitbart: “And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.”
Bannon also told the Standard his feelings on the current state of the Trump administration.
“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon said. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else.”
The mood inside Breitbart was mixed. One person familiar with the matter told CNN that there was a contingent of Breitbart staffers who desperately wanted Bannon to return. But others had hoped Bannon would not return, a separate person said, citing the brash and bombastic manner in which he worked with employees.