Steve Bannon: The Trump-whisperer’s rapid fall from grace

Publishedduration20 August 2020SharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingimage copyrightAFP

In the end, the master provocateur ended up provoking the wrong person in the wrong way at the wrong time.

Until August 2017, Steve Bannon was arguably the second most powerful man in Washington. The president's one-time chief strategist was the puller of strings, the Trump-whisperer, revelling in his role as an agent of chaos.

After the 2016 election, he was among "the best talent in politics" – in Trump's words.

Then he became "Sloppy Steve", a derogatory nickname used by the US president after Bannon was quoted in a book saying several things that appear to have made his former boss unhappy.

One example that made headlines was that the president's son, Donald Trump Jr, had committed a "treasonous" act in talking to Russians.

Bannon's backers cut their ties with him, he left the powerful right-wing media empire Breitbart, and the future of the man behind some of Trump's most headline-grabbing policies was left up in the air.

And then in August 2020, more bad news. Bannon was arrested and charged with fraud over an online fundraising scheme to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

Prosecutors said he received more than $1m – and used some of it to pay off personal expenses. He pleaded not guilty.

Even in a White House where political careers have the life expectancy of a house fly, Bannon's sudden rise and fall over four years is remarkable. Here's how it came about.