Steve Bannon’s career at the White House has ended seven months after his appointment as US President Donald Trump‘s chief strategist.
The former banker turned editor at far-right website Breitbart was seen as a key influence on the president, having led his successful election campaign in 2016.
His comments on Muslims, anti-establishment views and his alleged ties to white supremacists made him a controversial figure across the US political spectrum, including within Trump’s Republican party.
As US outlets reported news of his departure, many of his critics on social media celebrated. But others questioned what influence Bannon may continue to have on the president and whether being removed from the shackles of formal government would actually work to his benefit.
Ain't it satisfyin' to see Bannon's vision for a Trump presidency starin' down the barrel of a 30% approval ratin'? Good times.
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) August 19, 2017
Senior Democrat Nancy Pelosi said the move would make little difference, as Trump himself had what she described as a long record of racism.
“Steve Bannon’s exit does not erase [Trump’s] long record of lifting up racist viewpoints and advancing repulsive policies,” she wrote on Twitter.
The problem was never just Steve Bannon. It was and always will be Donald Trump. https://t.co/cTBqwdwZUW
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 18, 2017
While left-leaning senator, Bernie Sanders, said: “The problem was never just Steve Bannon. It was and always will be Donald Trump.”
Several senior Trump administration figures have been forced out of the White House in recent weeks and months, including his chief of staff, Reince Priebus; his former press secretary, Sean Spicer; and communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who was in the job just for 10 days.
However, there are doubts as to whether Bannon’s departure was as involuntary as some of those dismissals.
Bannon: “now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know… I’ve got my hands back on my weapons." https://t.co/STo61YBqfn
— Dan Froomkin/PressWatchers.org (@froomkin) August 19, 2017
He reportedly told the Weekly Standard that he had always intended to resign a year from his start date and return to Breitbart.
— shelly 🇺🇸 (@LFreenor) August 18, 2017
Trump has courted widespread anger in the US and internationally over his response to the deadly white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He blamed “both sides” for the violence and also said there were nice people on each side.
The comments spurred a renewed effort on social media to demand he distance himself from white supremacists and force out those with ties to the far right.