Ari Fleischer: Trump took 'a 2x4 to the head of Steve Bannon'

Former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer on Wednesday characterized President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE's declaration that Stephen Bannon had "lost his mind" and had no real "influence" with the White House as a "2x4 to the head" of the former White House chief strategist.

Fleischer told Fox News he has "never seen a reaction like this" from a president against a former aide.

Trump earlier in the day ripped Bannon following the release from a new book containing incendiary criticism of Trump attributed to Bannon.

"Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — GOP spars with FBI agent at tense hearing Bookstore owner calls police after customer confronted Steve Bannon Trump’s plan to drown government must be stopped MORE has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” Trump said in a scathing statement released by the White House. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”


"That is a 2x4 to the head of Steve Bannon," Fleischer told fellow former Bush press secretary Dana Perino on Fox News's "Daily Briefing."

"I watched this business now for some 30 years," he said. "I remember when George Stephanopoulos got in big trouble with his boss, Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMontana governor raises profile ahead of potential 2020 bid Dem senator ties Kavanaugh confirmation vote to Trump-Putin controversy Don't place all your hopes — or fears — on a new Supreme Court justice MORE; when Scott McClellan got in big trouble with our boss, George W. Bush. I have never in my life seen a reaction like this."

He went on to make predictions about the fallout.

"It is very Donald Trump," Fleischer continued. "Donald Trump just blistered Steve Bannon. And here’s what I think happens next. Steve Bannon will deny what has been written about in this book. Bannon will then say Michael Wolff made it up. Then it will go to Wolff and he will have to show a tape recording or proof of it."

"That’s where this is going to go. Boy, it sure is juicy."

Trump also accused Bannon, who returned to Breitbart News following his exit from the White House to serve again as its executive chairman, of leaking false information during his 8-month tenure in the White House.

"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," Trump said.

"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," the president added.

Earlier Wednesday, excerpts from a book written by Hollywood Reporter media critic Michael Wolff exploded online and into social media conversations. One part of the book quoted Bannon characterizing a June 2016 meeting between a Russian lawyer and Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpFox News bigger than ever two years after Roger Ailes Kimberly Guilfoyle leaving Fox News to campaign with Donald Trump Jr.: report George Will charges that Trump colluded with Putin MORE as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”

Bannon also allegedly told Wolff that he thinks the Russians met with Trump himself. The president denies that occurred.