White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon told associates “I love a gunfight” within 24 hours of his ouster from the National Security Council, according to a Thursday report.
Bannon said reports that he threatened to resign if removed from the NSC are “100 percent nonsense,” Axios reported.
Axios said a feud is brewing in the White House between a faction surrounding Bannon and a rival group aligned with senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law.
“Steve has developed strong and important relationships with some of the most powerful right-leaning business leaders,” a close Bannon ally outside the White House said. "I see some bad press in [Kushner’s] future.”
A senior White House official confirmed Wednesday that Trump had removed Bannon from his NSC role, approving a decision suggested by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
Bannon, who served as the chief executive of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was elevated to the NSC's Principals Committee in January, sparking criticism the president was politicizing the council.
Trump administration officials reportedly wanted to shrink the NSC’s size after its time under Susan Rice, a former national security adviser for President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCould the coming 'red wave' election become a 'red tsunami'? Bottom line Barack Obama wishes a happy 58th birthday to 'best friend' Michelle MORE.
“Susan Rice operationalized the NSC during the last administration,” Bannon said in a Wednesday statement to The Wall Street Journal. "I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalized. General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function.”
Reports emerged Wednesday that Bannon “resisted the move” to pull him from the NSC by threatening to quit if the change was made.
The White House has insisted Bannon’s removal is not a demotion for the former executive chairman of the right-wing Breitbart News.