WASHINGTON — Stephen Miller, President Donald Trump’s top policy adviser, on Sunday eviscerated former White House colleague Stephen Bannon over comments attributed to him in a new book, calling him an “angry, vindictive person” whose “grotesque comments are so out of touch with reality.”
Miller said the “whole White House staff is deeply disappointed in his comments” in “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” a scathing tell-all by Michael Wolff that paints Trump as unprepared for the presidency and portrays his aides as concerned about his performance.
“It reads like an angry, vindictive person spouting off to a highly discredible author,” Miller told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The book is best understood as a work of poorly written fiction. The author is a garbage author of a garbage book. ... The betrayal of the president in this book is so contrary to the reality of those who work with him,” Miller continued.
Shortly after Miller’s appearance on the show — which ended when Tapper abruptly cut him off, calling him “obsequious” and concerned only about “one viewer” — Trump tweeted about the “Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author”:
“I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author. Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!”
Miller and Bannon were once thought to be kindred spirits — both hard-liners on immigration who sought to exploit Trump’s populist rhetoric to advance a nationalist agenda. But as Bannon began to lose favor in the West Wing, Miller reportedly realigned himself with a faction led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka Trump.
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In his book, Wolff relied heavily on on-the-record interviews with Bannon, who was critical of other White House aides and Trump’s children. Bannon referred to a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russia lawyer at Trump Tower as “treasonous” and suggested that it was highly likely that Trump Jr. told his father about the meeting. That meeting has been scrutinized by independent counsel Robert Mueller III as part of his probe into the Trump campaign’s contact with Russian officials during the 2016 election.
Asked whether the president was aware of the meeting at the time, Miller said Bannon was not present and therefore “is not even a remotely credible source on any of it.”