Timeline: How Trump and Bannon went from formidable allies to archenemies
US President Donald Trump expected a routine schedule on Wednesday: receiving his intelligence briefing in the morning before holding lunch with his Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
These plans were disrupted after salacious quotes attributed to former Mr Trump’s chief strategist and campaign manager Steve Bannon became public, ahead of the release of a new book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff.
The quotes excoriate the Trump campaign as one that stumbled on victory, and paints major figures around the US President, including his son Donald Trump Junior and son in law Jared Kushner, as opportunistic and treasonous.
Mr Trump was enraged by the leaks, and issued a statement disavowing Mr Bannon whom he said has “lost his mind” and “now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look.”
The fallout is a turning point Mr Bannon’s relation with Mr Trump. Coverage of Mr Trump’s administration from Mr Bannon’s Breitbart publication will likely continue to sour. The Republican support base, which substantially crosses over with Breitbart’s readership, could also be impacted as the country heads to the midterm elections this November.
Looking back, here is the a major timeline of events that shaped the Trump-Bannon political tango:
• 16 July 2015: It is unclear when they met but on 16 July 2015, Mr Trump - one month after announcing his candidacy - tweets complimenting Mr Bannon on the review of his book.
• November 2015 - February 2016: Mr Bannon regularly interviewed Mr Trump for Breitbart, and the two reportedly kept exchanging emails about the campaign.
• 17 August 2016: Mr Bannon named chief executive of the Trump campaign only to become campaign manager two days later after the departure of Paul Manafort (now under house arrest in the Russia investigation)
• 8 November 2016: Donald Trump wins the Presidential elections
• 13 November 2016: Mr Trump appoints Mr Bannon as chief strategist at the White House
• 27 January 2017: Mr Trump announces a travel ban focused on Muslim-majority countries, reportedly inspired in timing and context by Mr Bannon.
• 28 January 2017: Mr Trump grants Mr Bannon a seat on the National Security Council’s principals committee, triggering controversy since Mr Bannon does not have the military or the national security credentials.
• March 2017: Mr Trump left Mr Bannon and other senior aides in Washington when he travelled to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend after an angry outburst over a series of leaks, setbacks and accusations.
• 4 April 2017: After tension with national security adviser HR McMaster, Mr Bannon is removed from the Principals Committee, and echoes of disenchantment with his role becomes more public amidst differences with the Republican Congress and Mr Kushner.
• 11 April 2017: Mr Trump refuses to publicly support Mr Bannon fully, undermining his influence in an interview with The New York Post: “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late,” the president said. “I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.”
• 15 August 2017: Mr Trump at a press conference following reports that Mr Bannon may be on his way out, describes him as a “good man” and “we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.”
• 18 August 2017: New York Times reports that Mr Bannon will be leaving the White House. He returns to Breitbart which begins to run negative coverage of Mr Trump's decisions.
• 31 August 2017: The Washington Post reports that Mr Trump still is still calling Steve Bannon on his phone despite Chief of staff John Kelly urging against it.
• 31 October 2017: The Washington Post reports the Mr Bannon has advised Mr Trump to go harsher on special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia probe.
• Early December 2017: White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders revealed on Wednesday, that the last phone conversation between Mr Trump and Mr Bannon was in the “first part of December.”
While the White House left no doubt that the fissure between Mr Trump and Mr Bannon will be long lasting, other Republican observers such as Erick Erickson noted that it may be temporary since the two may need each other again to promote a right wing populist agenda as midterms approach.