Steve Bannon: Donald Trump's former right-hand man at the centre of a new political storm

Steve Bannon: Donald Trump's former right-hand man at the centre of a new political storm

Steve Bannon: Donald Trump's former right-hand man at the centre of a new political storm

Updated 4 January 2018, 11:15 AEDT

Who is Steve Bannon and why has the former chief strategist to US President Donald Trump come out firing in a new book taking aim at the administration's possible Russian connections?

Explosive new claims in a book about Donald Trump's White House have catapulted Steve Bannon back into the headlines.

Mr Bannon led Donald Trump's election campaign but was sacked from his position as chief strategist less than one year into the job.

So, who is Mr Bannon, what does he stand for, and why have he and Mr Trump fallen out?

Who is he?

The 63-year-old is a former Navy officer, Goldman Sachs investment banker and Hollywood movie producer.

Before being appointed CEO of Mr Trump's presidential campaign in August 2016, Mr Bannon was the executive chairman of Breitbart News, an American conservative news site which under his leadership became a forum for the "alt-right".

The "alt-right" is an umbrella term for a group of Americans who seek to eschew political correctness and break the current political system, but are viewed by critics as embracing neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.

Since leaving the White House Mr Bannon has returned to his executive post at Breitbart, which he has called his "killing machine".

Fun fact: Mr Bannon has made a fortune from reruns of the hit TV show Seinfeld.

As reported by the Daily Beast, he was made a stakeholder in the series after helping negotiate the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment, the production company behind the show.

What does he stand for?

Mr Bannon touts his anti-establishment credentials, styling himself as a champion of grassroots, working class Americans.

Here are some examples of Steve Bannon, in his own words:

"I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist. The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f***ed over."

"The media bubble is the ultimate symbol of what's wrong with this country. It's just a circle of people talking to themselves who have no f***ing idea what's going on … It's a closed circle of information from which Hillary Clinton got all her information — and her confidence. That was our opening."

"Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power."

Under his leadership Breitbart mounted a campaign against Republican figures, including the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Paul Ryan.

But his campaign against the establishment backfired when he backed Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore as someone who would stand up against Washington elites.

Mr Moore's campaign was overshadowed by allegations of sexual misconduct with under-age girls, and he ended up losing to Democrat Doug Jones — the first time a Democrat had won in Alabama for 25 years.

In the 1990s, Mr Bannon's personal life was thrown into the spotlight when he was accused by his former wife Mary Louise Piccard of domestic abuse.

Charges brought against him were later dropped.

In a court filing during their divorce, Ms Piccard famously alleged that he "doesn't like Jews and that he doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be 'whiney brats'".

So what did he do for Trump?

As chief strategist and counsellor, Mr Bannon was a high-ranking assistant to Mr Trump, responsible for helping him execute his political game plan and manage his communications both inside government and with the public.

Mr Bannon pushed Mr Trump to follow through on some of his most contentious campaign promises, including his travel ban for people from some Muslim-majority nations, and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement.

But he also sparred with some of Mr Trump's closest advisers, including son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his relationship with the President soured as Mr Trump became increasingly annoyed at his adviser being credited for policy decisions being made inside the West Wing.

However, when Mr Bannon left the White House in August to purportedly continue the Trump agenda from the outside, the President was full of praise.

Mr Trump called him a "friend", said "I like Steve a lot", and thanked him for his service.

Today, things are very different.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders described Wolff's book as "trashy tabloid fiction" and says the President was "furious" when he learned about it.

She says it was Mr Bannon who gave the author access to the White House, and that any staffers who spoke to him did so at Mr Bannon's request.

ABC/wires