But according to the source, Bannon has boasted of his conversations with Trump as recently as a few months ago. The source said Bannon described his discussions with Trump as sounding board sessions covering a variety of topics.
A second campaign source said both men spoke “weeks ago” but only for a few minutes. Trump and Bannon are unlikely to ever rekindle their relationship as the President was unhappy with Bannon’s involvement in the “We Build the Wall” effort to privately fund a barrier at the US Mexico border, this source added.
A White House spokesman declined to discuss whether Trump and Bannon have been staying in touch. Bannon could not be reached for comment.
The two men had a public falling out in August 2017, when Bannon was forced out of his White House position in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Those hard feelings lingered for months after Bannon criticized Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian attorney at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.
In the Oval Office Thursday, Trump said he has not been “dealing” with Bannon “at all.”
“I haven’t been dealing with him for a long period of time, as most of the people in this room know. He was involved in our campaign. He worked for Goldman Sachs. He worked for a lot of companies. But he was involved, likewise, in our campaign, and for a small part of the administration, very early on. I haven’t been dealing with him at all,” Trump said.
The President did say he was “sad” about Bannon’s arrest. Last month, the President told Fox News he appreciated words of support from Bannon, who hosts a pro-Trump podcast.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany suggested Trump has not been in contact with Bannon in a statement issued Thursday.
“President Trump has not been involved with Steve Bannon since the campaign and the early part of the Administration, and he does not know the people involved with this project,” McEnany said.
That statement is false as Trump did know at least two of the “We Build the Wall” project organizers, Bannon and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Trump Jr. had also spoken out in favor of the private wall effort.
The first campaign source, who said Bannon has been telling friends about his communications with Trump, described a “kinship” between two men who share the same “nationalist, populist ideology” Bannon has championed for a decade.
“Bannon has the ideology and Trump is the vessel,” the source said.