WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Steve Bannon emerged Sunday after five days of silence and apologized for his delay in responding to a controversial book in which he criticized, among others, Donald Trump, Jr.
The mea culpa comes after President Trump's former chief strategist was widely lambasted by members of the Trump administration for his participation in the newly released book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," which was written by Michael Wolff. In it, Bannon was quoted as saying that the president's son participated in a "treasonous" meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton in 2016.
"Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man," Bannon said in a statement. "He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.
"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," he added.
Excerpts from the book caused a political firestorm last week. Bannon zeroed in on the president's son for the now-infamous meeting with the Russians.
"They're going to crack Don Junior like a egg on national TV," he said, referring to the special counsel's investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father's office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero," he was also quoted as having said in the book.
The White House has lashed out against Wolff and the book, calling it a "work of fiction." The president has also expressed outrage over Bannon's participation in it, calling Bannon "Sloppy Steve" and a "staffer who worked for me."
"I guess sloppy Steve brought him into the White House quite a bit, and it was one of those things. That's why sloppy Steve is now looking for a job," Trump tweeted Sunday.
The president also distanced himself from his former top aide in a lengthy statement last week.
"Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency," the statement read. "When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."
Bannon, who also criticized Paul Manafort, then-campaign chairman for the campaign, and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, stops short of directly saying he was misquoted in Wolff's book. Instead, he attempts to shift any blame for meeting with Russian lawyer away from the Donald Trump, Jr., to Manafort.
"My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate," Bannon said. "He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr."
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Steve Bannon regrets not setting the record straight sooner