Bannon's Breitbart takes critical line on the White House

Last Updated Aug 22, 2017 3:49 PM EDT

Soon after Steve Bannon's dismissal last week as chief White House strategist, he told Bloomberg News that he's now "going to war" for his old boss.

"If there's any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I'm leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents -- on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America," Bannon told Bloomberg Businessweek, upon returning to his old job as chairman of Breitbart, a conservative news site. If the pages of Breitbart are any indication, though, Bannon may believe that some of those opponents aren't just in the Capitol and in the media -- they're in the White House.

With Bannon's return, the right-wing news outlet has published stories critical of key members of the administration, including President Trump's daughter, son-in-law, national security adviser and top economic adviser. 

Just days after Bannon was forced out of the White House, amid ongoing speculation over his role in the administration as reports of West Wing infighting surged, Breitbart published articles critical of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, including a Sunday report that Republican donor Sheldon Adelson supported a campaign to drive McMaster out of the White House, and another claiming McMaster had endorsed a book "advocating for Quran-kissing" ceremonies.

The site launched its latest salvos against McMaster after Mr. Trump's address to the nation Monday on the administration's strategy in Afghanistan. Breitbart published stories criticizing the speech, questioning whether Mr. Trump's "McMaster's voice" was "that different from Obama's." Another story on the site announced Trump's base was unhappy with his "flip-flop Afghanistan speech." And yet another headline on Breitbart read, "President H.R. McMaster's yuge foreign policy blunder."  

McMaster has lately been on the receiving end of criticism from some conservative sites over his firing of some NSC staff members and his opposition to withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal for now.

The general's ability to properly advise the president has also been called into question by Breitbart, who cited a source as saying McMaster had not properly briefed Mr. Trump on the most recent Naval destroyer collision involving the USS John McCain. Breitbart claimed the poor briefing led to the president's off-the-cuff remarks that it was "too bad" the incident had occurred. 

The outlet has also published unflattering pieces on Mr. Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka -- one cited Daily Mail reports that she was responsible for Bannon's dismissal. Another piece highlighted several times Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who, according to the New York Times are referred to by Bannon derisively as "Javanka," had been dismayed with Mr. Trump and leaked that information to the press.

Bannon reportedly felt the duo had "naïve political instincts" and were going to alienate Mr. Trump's base of white working-class voters, according to the Times. 

But the White House has since dismissed reports that Ivanka Trump called for Bannon's removal as "totally false."

Chief economic adviser Gary Cohn has also been on Breitbart's radar as of late, with a recent post (predating Bannon's departure from the White House) claiming Cohn was "disgusted" with Mr. Trump's remarks on Charlottesville, and an article arguing the stock market wouldn't crash if Cohn were to leave his White House post.  

Mr. Trump himself has been supportive about Bannon's return to Breitbart, tweeting last week that Bannon would serve as a "tough and smart new voice" at the organization, adding that "Fake News needs the competition."

While Bannon returns to a site that has openly defended the"alt-right" movement and is leading a public lambasting of Trump officials, the outlet has also been suffering from reduced revenue, as advertisers have continued to distance themselves from the right-wing news source. 

According to data compiled by Sleeping Giants, an organization that aims to "stop racist and sexist media by stopping its ad dollars," more than 2,500 companies have cut ties with the site. 

The group initiated a call to action for Twitter users to send companies photos of their ads being placed on Breitbart, calling for their removal. 

However, advertising is not the only revenue stream supporting Breitbart -- the billionaire Mercer family, which is closely aligned with Bannon and with President Trump, has provided millions in funding to Breitbart. According to Axios, Bannon met with Robert Mercer last week to ensure Breitbart will be "a well-funded force on the outside." Axios reported that Breitbart would go "thermonuclear" against "globalists," who include McMaster, Cohn, Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Dina Powell. 

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital