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Bannon praises Trump Jr as a 'patriot' and 'good man' after book criticism

Bannon praises Trump Jr as a 'patriot' and 'good man' after book criticism
© Greg Nash

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon in a new statement praised Donald Trump Jr.Don John TrumpMost Republicans in new poll say they'd vote for Trump in 2024 President says Trump Jr. doing 'very well' after COVID-19 diagnosis Trump has not prepared a concession speech: report MORE as a "patriot" and a "good man" and expressed "regret" for his delayed response to quoted criticism in a book released last week.

"He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around," Bannon said in a statement provided to Axios, referring to Trump Jr.

Bannon added that his support for President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE and his agenda is "unwavering."

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"President Trump was the only candidate that could have taken on and defeated the Clinton apparatus," he said.

"I am the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism; and remain ready to stand in the breach for this president's efforts to make America great again."

Bannon's statement comes after a controversial new book on the Trump White House claimed Bannon called the 2016 meeting between Trump Jr. and a group of Russians "treasonous."

"They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV," Bannon is quoted as saying in the book, referring to the investigation into Russia's election interference.

Trump tore into Bannon after excerpts of Michael Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," were released. Trump accused Bannon of losing his mind.

Bannon in the statement to Axios sought to further explain his comments.

"My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years when our focus was the defeat of 'the evil empire' and to making films about Reagan's war against the Soviets and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonValadao unseats Cox in election rematch Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College Federal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work MORE's involvement in selling uranium to them," Bannon said.

He said his comments were aimed at former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFlynn spurs questions of who Trump might pardon next On The Money: Initial jobless claims rise for 2nd week | Dow dips below 30K | Mnuchin draws fire for COVID-19 relief move | Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges to NY high court MORE, who he called a "seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate."

"He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.," Bannon said.

He added that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians and that the Russia probe is a "witch hunt."

"I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president's historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency," he said.