Steve Bannon says his departure from the White House signals the end of the Trump presidency as many envisioned it.
In comments made to the Weekly Standard on Friday, President Donald Trump‘s former chief strategist lamented the death of the Trump presidency, while simultaneously vowing to revive it.
“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon proclaimed.
“We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”
“Bannon the Barbarian”
Bannon, who has insisted that his departure from the Trump administration was voluntary, has returned to his previous role as executive chairman of right-wing media outlet Breitbart News.
He says his newly acquired insider knowledge of White House machinations will equip him to better leverage Breitbart News to “crush” his political opponents.
READ MORE: Steve Bannon out as White House Chief Strategist, back at Breitbart
“I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, ‘it’s Bannon the Barbarian.’ I am definitely going to crush the opposition,” he told the Weekly Standard.
“I built a f***ing machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up.”
Earlier, Bannon suggested to Bloomberg News that he didn’t blame Trump as much as he did certain other influencers elsewhere in the American political landscape.
“I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,” he said.
A divisive figure
In his tenure as Trump’s chief strategist, Bannon clashed with several high-profile administration figures, including Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, both of whom espoused more mainstream, business-friendly policies on trade, taxes and other issues.
Bannon has also been accused by some of promoting criticism of national security adviser H.R. McMaster.
WATCH: Trump removes Bannon from National Security Council
Unsurprisingly, Breitbart News offered up some of the strongest reactions to news of Bannon’s exit.
In an editorial published Friday, right-wing commentator Joel Pollak compared Trump to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who he accused of abandoning his political base to take on a more moderate agenda after being elected governor of California in 2003.
“Bannon was also probably the only person who could deliver honest advice and criticism to the president, because he did not need the job. He is a self-made man, and not a Washington climber,” Pollak wrote.
“Trump voters have been patient, but they will soon know if Donald Trump is really Arnold Schwarzenegger 2.0.”
READ MORE: Anthony Scaramucci believes Donald Trump should fire Steve Bannon
Breitbart News confirmed that Bannon chaired the company’s evening editorial meeting Friday, hailing him as a “populist hero.”
“The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today,” Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow enthused.
WATCH: Trump: Steve Bannon is ‘not a racist, he’s a good person’
Earlier this week, Trump offered a half-hearted defense of Bannon.
“He’s a good person. He actually gets very unfair press in that regard,” Trump told reporters. “But we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.”
— With a file from Reuters
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