Steve Bannon was dramatically forced out of the White House on Friday in the latest earthquake to rock President Donald Trump’s administration.
Bannon leaves at the end of Friday amid competing claims over whether he was fired or quit on his own.
But a senior administration official told DailyMail.com on Friday afternoon as the news rocketed around the world that Chief of Staff John Kelly made the decision and secured Trump’s approval.
The White House’s official line is that it was a mutual decision that involved Bannon himself.
‘White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,’ a statement from press secretary Sarah Sanders read on Friday.
‘We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.’
The removal opens the way for a war waged by what one source called ‘Bannon the Barbarian’ on his West Wing enemies – the group he calls the ‘globalists’ which included Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser.
OUT: Steve Bannon was ousted from the White House dramatically on Friday just after midday – with friends say he resigned before he could be fired.
CONSERVATIVE: Trump’s chief strategist was the most conservative voice in the White House
UNDISPUTED POWER: Retired Marine General John Kelly, Trump’s new chief of staff, has now overseen the departure of Anthony Scaramucci and Steve Bannon after the firing of Reince Priebus
How the news broke: Matt Drudge, seen as close to much of the Trump camp, tweeted this message. Minutes later Bannon was known to be out.
BREITBART WORLD REACTS: One of its editors, Joel Pollak, tweeted war – and the website’s White House correspondent predicted a new era for Bannon
Bannon is expected to see Breitbart, the website he turned into a vehicle for his America-first political ideas, turn on Trump ‘like they treated Obama’.
The New York Times reports that a person close to Bannon insists it was his idea.
A White House aide told DailyMail.com on Friday that Bannon submitted an offer of his resignation on August 7, but would not say whether Trump ad accepted it at that time.
Trump and Bannon are still discussing Bannon’s future, according to the Times.
The move sends the most conservative and lightning-rod leader in the Trump West Wing out after less than seven months.
‘Bannon had one hell of a run,’ Internet publisher Matt Drudge tweeted on Friday.
Bannon’s departure makes him the sixth top-shelf aide to depart since the president’ January 20 inauguration, including former national security adviser Gen. Mike Flynn, chief of staff Reince Priebus, press secretary Sean Spicer and two communications directors – Mike Dubke and Anthony Scaramucci.
A well-placed White House source told DailyMail.com on Friday that Kushner, his wife Ivanka Trump, interim communications director Hope Hicks, press secretary Sarah Sanders and senior counselor Kellyanne Conway are all remaining in their current positions.
A senior White House aide had told DailyMail.com on Tuesday that Bannon’s job was secure. ‘Steve’s staying,’ the official said then.
But after that the former Trump campaign CEO who was once executive chairman of Breitbart News took down his guard.
He gave an interview to a liberal magazine in which he contradicted the president’s position on North Korea and trashed his more moderate colleagues for their views on an ‘economic war’ with China.
NOW HE WILL WANT REVENGE: Staff at his former website Breitbart predicted ‘war’ and the rise of ‘Bannon the Barbarian’ looking for vengeance on the ‘globalists’ who pushed him out- who are seen as being led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and featuring (second right) Gary Cohn, the president’s main economic adviser
Then there was one: Trump in the Oval Office with Mike Flynn, his disgraced national security adviser, and Steve Bannon, his now ousted chief strategist, just after the inauguation
TOOK ADVICE: John Kelly told Trump it was time for Bannon to go – and Trump got rid of him. The news emerged as the president was on his way to Camp David on Air Force One. One trigger had been a book which portrayed Bannon as the mastermind of Trump’s victory
And he tried gamely to frame that interview as a win for the president, claiming to DailyMail.com that the resulting furor drew attention away from Trump’s widely panned responses to the weekend’s racial violence in Charlottesville Virginia.
Trump has not yet commented on Twitter or elsewhere.
Bannon is famously reclusive with his communications, eschewing social media and speaking only to a handful of reporters on a regular basis.
But the president was said on Friday to be furious over Bannon’s habit of taking credit for his 2016 election.
In ‘Devil’s Bargain,’ a book by Joshua Green published last month, Bannon is painted as the mastermind behind Trump’s ascendancy.
And the president was not pleased.
‘That f***ing Steve Bannon [is] taking credit for my election,’ Trump recently told a confidant, according to the left-leaning Buzzfeed website.
The book is a look-back on Bannon’s role in leveraging Trump’s connection with his base last year as his populist economic message attracted middle-class white voters
Trump took pains to avoid backing him too firmly during a press conference on Tuesday, referring to him only as ‘Mr. Bannon’ while defending him against charges of bigotry.
‘He is not a racist. I can tell you that. He is a good person. He actually gets a very unfair press in that regard,’ Trump said in response to a question about whether he would keep him.
‘We’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon. He is a good person and I think the press treats him, frankly, very unfairly.’
Democrats cheered Bannon’s departure on Friday.
‘Steve Bannon’s firing is welcome news,’ House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, ‘but it doesn’t disguise where President Trump himself stands on white supremacists and the bigoted beliefs they advance.’
‘Personnel changes are worthless so long as President Trump continues to advance policies that disgrace our cherished American values,’ she added.
Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan tweeted: ‘Good. He had no business being there to begin with.’
And New York Democrat Nita Lowey, said on Twitter that ‘Steve Bannon should have never been a White House official, and his ouster is no substitute for moral leadership from the President.’
Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, one of the most liberal members of Congress, added in a tweet that ‘it doesn’t matter if @realDonaldTrump fires everyone in his administration. He’s the problem. #BannonOut’
SCENT OF DEATH: Saturday Night Live portrayed Steve Bannon as the grim reaper to Alec Baldwin’s Trump. But the president was not pleased at his chief strategist getting the attention, it was reported
Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown tweeted: ‘Steve Bannon should have never been in the WH. He has promoted anti-Semitism, racism and misogyny, embracing bigotry and hate speech.’
Bannon was a far-right outlier in the Trump campaign, helping the president coalesce his messaging around what he called ‘economic nationalism.’
That platform, a combination of focusing on growing jobs and refocusing global trade in America’s favor, won him broad support in America’s heartland.
It’s unclear where Bannon will go from the West Wing.
A senior executive at Breitbart News did not immediately respond to a question on Friday about whether its longtime chairman would return.
But a close associate of Bannon’s told DailyMail.com to expect Breitbart to wage all-out war with the White House now that its standard-bearer would be on the outside.
‘They’re going to treat Trump like they treated Obama, since they won’t see any meaningful difference anymore,’ the source said of the Breitbart website.
The online news outlet Axios reported Friday morning that Bannon was setting himself up to be a martyr, a White House nationalist hero forced out by ‘globalists.’
A source close to Bannon said: ‘This week is a good window into what Bannon outside the [White House] would look like: A strong defense of POTUS and ‘fire and fury’ for enemies of the Trump agenda. Get ready for Bannon the barbarian.’
Bannon, who joined Trump’s presidential campaign a year and a day ago as its CEO, was credited with bringing discipline and focus to the then-scattered operation.
He came directly from Breitbart News, where he set the tone for a ragtag journalism operation known for the same kind of right-wing populist messaging that made Trump seem like a native son in any corner of America’s heartland where he visited with disaffected white male voters.
A large part of his lifetime income came from a single deal, arranging long-term residual checks from a then-fledgling TV sitcom called Seinfeld when he helped negotiate the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment to CNN.
Along the way he also produced 18 Hollywood films between 1991 and 2016 – including some conservative ideological polemics like ‘Occupy Unmasked.’
Before going to Goldman, however, Bannon was a U.S. Navy officer for seven years.
He served in the Persian Gulf during the Iran hostage crisis, where witnessing the Jimmy Carter administration mishandle an international debacle turned him into a Ronald Reagan admirer.
Before entering the White House, Bannon also co-founded and chaired the Government Accountability Institute, a nonprofit that helped with the publication of ‘Clinton Cash,’ a book that outlined Hillary Clinton’s alleged financial conflicts of interest during her time as secretary of state.
The book was widely credited with changing the national narrative about the Democrat who then appeared to be a shoe-in for the Oval Office.