At the height of his fame and influence, Steve Bannon set in motion his downfall. According to Michael Wolff’s new book—containing Bannon’s remarks about President Trump’s family that have caused a furor—almost exactly a year ago, weeks before becoming the White House chief strategist, Bannon was freely holding forth about the president-elect at a dinner with the late Fox News chief Roger Ailes in Wolff’s New York City townhouse.
It was apparently one of many conversations he had with Wolff over the past year that have come back to haunt Bannon. His description of Donald Trump Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer in which he sought dirt on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as “treasonous” has infuriated President Trump. And the episode has caused Bannon to lose the support of his wealthy conservative patrons, the Mercer family, at the time he needs them most as he tries to launch an intra-party insurgency in the 2018 midterms.
Rebekah Mercer issued a rare on-the-record statement to The Washington Post on Thursday disavowing Bannon and saying the family was not supporting his political endeavors. (The family’s most recent public comment was Robert Mercer’s disavowal of former Breitbart tech editor and right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.) In her statement, she said she had not communicated with Bannon in months. According to a source with direct knowledge of her comments, who asked for anonymity to discuss private conversations, Mercer told people she was finished with Bannon about six weeks ago.