President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE cast uncertainty on the future of his chief strategist on Tuesday, even as he defended him from criticism.
"I like Mr. Bannon; he's a friend of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late, you know that," Trump said in a news conference in New York City.
"I like him. He's a good man. He's not a racist, I can tell you that. He's a good person. He actually gets a very unfair press in that regard.
"But we'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon," Trump added. "But he's a good person, and I think the press treats him frankly very unfairly."
Trump's comments came a day after The New York Times reported that Stephen Bannon's role in the White House is in limbo and that the president's advisers and confidants are urging him to fire the chief strategist.
Bannon, the former executive chair of Breitbart News, which he once described as the "platform for the alt-right," has also become the target of criticism from Democratic lawmakers and civil rights activists in recent days after violence erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stepped up her calls for Trump to fire Bannon. Pelosi on Monday called him a "white supremacist."
On Tuesday, leaders of several minority congressional caucuses joined in, demanding that Trump fire Bannon as well as senior White House adviser Stephen Miller and national security aide Sebastian Gorka.
A group of House Democrats also introduced a resolution urging Trump to remove from his administration any “who have supported or encouraged support for White supremacists."
This story was updated at 4:52 p.m.