Sources: Mega-Donor Convinced Bannon Not to Quit

Rebekah Mercer reportedly convinced him it's a 'long-term play'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2017 2:39 PM CDT
Sources: Mega-Donor Convinced Bannon Not to Quit
In this Feb. 7, 2017 file photo, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is seen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Steve Bannon's team is denying reports that he threatened to quit over his removal from the National Security Council, but Politico talked to five more people—a senior administration official and others "close to the president"—who say that one of President Trump's mega-donors, who is also a longtime confidante of Bannon's, urged Bannon not to resign from the administration after he clashed with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. "Rebekah Mercer prevailed upon him to stay," says one source. "Bekah tried to convince him that this is a long-term play," says another. Mercer, heiress to a hedge-fund fortune, is a major investor in Breitbart News, and Bannon is part owner of the data-analytics firm largely owned by Mercer's family.

The sources say Bannon is upset Kushner and his allies are attempting to undermine Bannon's populist approach. The "big fight is between nationalists and the West Wing Democrats," explains one source. The sources also explain that Kushner is no big fan of Mercer and her family, so if Bannon does resign, her influence would lessen. Axios doesn't see the Bannon-Kushner fight going away any time soon; it reports that Bannon recently told associates, "I love a gunfight." And it notes that Bannon has allies beyond Mercer, including Jeff Sessions, Kellyanne Conway, Stephen Miller, and other cabinet secretaries. (Click for an in-depth look at Mercer.)

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