Trump disavows Steve Bannon: "When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind"

Last Updated Jan 3, 2018 2:15 PM EST

President Trump unleashed a scathing statement against his former chief strategist Steve Bannon Wednesday, saying that when Bannon was fired from the White House, "he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."

The president's official statement came as criticisms Bannon made about the president surfaced in an upcoming book. In "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff, Bannon apparently called Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russians "treasonous" and "unpatriotic," according to the Guardian, which has a copy of the book. 

In his statement, Mr. Trump disavowed Bannon's involvement with his own campaign, and blamed him for losing Alabama to Democrats in the recent special Senate election. The president also downplayed Bannon's role in the White House, and said Bannon "spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was," even though Bannon now "pretends to be at war with the media" at Breitbart News. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that Mr. Trump's statement is about Bannon, and not about Wolff's book. 

Here is the president's statement in full: 

"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. 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.

Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn't as easy as I make it look. 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. Steve doesn't represent my base—he's only in it for himself. 

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. 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. 

We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. 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."

Sanders is sure to be lobbed questions about the president's statement, and about Wolff's book, in the daily press briefing at 3 p.m.

Anthony Scaramucci, who was White House press secretary for less than two weeks in light of an expletive-filled rant attacking Bannon to the New Yorker, tweeted this Wednesday:

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.