WASHINGTON - Former White House strategist Steve Bannon stepped down as executive chairman of Breitbart News Network on Tuesday, the conservative news outlet announced Tuesday.
The move comes amid a furor over incendiary remarks he reportedly made about U.S. President Donald Trump and his family to author Michael Wolff in a book, "Fire and Fury," published just last week.
Wolff wrote in the book that Bannon called a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s 2016 meeting with Russian nationals, “treasonous” and "unpatriotic."
Bannon also predicted in the book that Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, would “crack” Trump Jr. “like an egg on national TV.”
The U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and a special counsel are all investigating alleged Russian interference in the presidential election, allegations denied by both the Kremlin and Trump.
The president and his staff have lashed out at Bannon, calling him disloyal and disgraceful. The president said last week that Bannon "lost his mind'' when he was pushed out of the White House last August.
After days of keeping silent amid the uproar, Bannon tried to make amends. He issued a statement Sunday praising the president's eldest son but he stopped short of apologizing for his criticism of the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump and Kushner.
The fallout from the book also saw Bannon losing his largest benefactor, Rebekah Mercer. Mercer and her father, hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, own part of Breitbart News Network and are influential voices in its operation. Last week, Mercer distanced herself from Bannon, saying in a statement, “I support President Trump and the platform upon which he was elected.”
Bannon joined Breitbart in 2012 and helped raise the profile of the news site, which he once called the platform for the so-called alt-right, a loose confederation of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.
A report on the Breitbart website quotes Bannon saying, "I'm proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform.''
The White House did not immediately respond to the news of Bannon's ouster, but press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last week called on the conservative website to "look at and consider'' parting ways with Bannon.