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Steve Bannon Returns to Breitbart News Hours After White House Exit

by Adam Edelman /  / Updated 
Image: Steve Bannon
Senior Counselor to the President, Steve Bannon, walks into the Rose Garden before President Donald Trump announces his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement at the White House on June 1, 2017 in Washington. fileChip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

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Meet the new boss — same as the old boss.

Just hours after his exit from President Donald Trump's White House was announced, Steve Bannon was back in the newsroom where he first rose to prominence in far-right political circles.

Bannon returned as the executive chairman of Breitbart News Friday, a spokesman for the site confirmed to NBC News, coming back to the polarizing news company he led before Trump plucked him in August 2016 to be the chief executive of his presidential campaign. After the election, Trump appointed him chief strategist.

Confirmation from the company came shortly after the site published an article titled “‘Populist Hero’ Stephen K. Bannon Returns Home to Breitbart.”

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In the article, Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow said that the company “gained an executive chairman with his finger on the pulse of the Trump agenda.”

“The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today,” Marlow said.

Charlie Spiering, Breitbart News’ White House correspondent, also tweeted the news, disclosing that Bannon was already back in the company’s Washington, D.C., newsroom, where he led its evening editorial meeting.

Bannon himself expressed excitement about his return, telling the Weekly Standard in an interview published moments after the company's announcement that he felt "jacked up," and referred to the site as one of his "weapons."

“Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, ‘it’s Bannon the Barbarian.’ I am definitely going to crush the opposition," Bannon said.

"And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up," he added, referring to Breitbart. "And rev it up we will do.”

Only hours before, the White House formally announced that Bannon was departing the Trump administration, capping a rocky tenure in the West Wing.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a brief statement to reporters. "We are grateful for his service and wish him the best."

Trump also congratulated Bannon in a tweet Saturday afternoon, saying he will be a "tough and smart new voice" at Breitbart. Bannon was executive chairman of the far-right news organization from 2012, before leaving to work in the administration.

Throughout his nearly seven months in the White House, Bannon had been a central figure in a power struggle to influence the often unpredictable president. He clashed with many of Trump’s other top aides including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, and rumors of his waning influence and imminent departure had been circulating Washington for months.

Prior to serving as Trump’s chief White House strategist, Bannon had worked as Trump’s campaign chief, joining the then-candidate late into his 2016 run and helping him capitalize on a wave of enthusiasm centered on economic nationalism.

He’d had experience honing that message during his initial tenure at Breitbart, a home for the nationalist wing of the Republican party, where he’d worked as the executive chairman since 2012.

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