The former White House strategist also defended the controversial Michael Wolff book

By David Canfield
March 22, 2018 at 06:11 PM EDT
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon changed his tune on Fire and Fury during an appearance at a Financial Times event Thursday in New York.

Most significantly, Bannon stated outright that he does not regret the comments he made to author Michael Wolff for the incendiary book, published in January. It was Bannon whose quotes first leaked from Fire and Fury prior to publication, shooting the book to the top of best-seller lists and drawing an unsuccessful cease-and-desist order from President Trump himself.

In an initial excerpt printed by the Guardian, Bannon was quoted calling Donald Trump Jr. “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” for taking a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton during the election campaign.

Bannon would later issue a mea culpa for his comments, asserting his “unwavering [support] for the president and his agenda” and adding, “I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr. has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.” In that statement, Bannon also called Trump Jr. “a patriot and a good man.”

Bannon’s comments Thursday indicate a total reversal from that apology. He even took it one step further, defending the book’s veracity. (Wolff has faced significant allegations of spreading falsehoods in the book.) “I haven’t seen anybody refute anything that was said in the book,” Bannon said Thursday. He also claimed that Fire and Fury was “authorized” by the White House and, more specifically, outgoing communications director Hope Hicks.

Wolff paid close attention to Bannon’s comments Thursday, retweeting reports that Bannon had defended the book and said he didn’t regret his comments. Wolff’s book tour has reportedly been flailing, with several events being canceled for unclear reasons.

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