Photo: William Moon

On Air Force One Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley discloses President Trump’s take on Bannon, Wolff, and Oprah.

On Monday afternoon, Jan 8, President Trump boarded Air Force One en route to Nashville, Tennessee where he addressed the American Farm Bureau and unveiled a report that is expected to rebuild rural prosperity according to the White House.

During his trip, Trump also signed into law a measure that re-designated Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic site as the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park.

On Steve Bannon and ‘Fire and Fury’

En route to the events, Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley took questions from the press. The first question addressed a recent statement by Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, whose comments against the Trump family in “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” the forthcoming book by Michael Wolff, have landed him in hot water with the president.

Extensive excerpts of ‘Fire and Fury,’ published in New York Magazine earlier this year, reveal Bannon calling the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”

“They’re [Mueller’s Investigative team] going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,” Bannon is quoted as saying in ‘Fire and Fury.’

The White House has repeatedly dismissed Wolff’s book as nothing more than “trashy tabloid fiction” sourced by “false and misleading accounts.” In a statement on Wednesday, President Trump released a statement discounting Bannon’s relevance to his presidency and accused Bannon of having “lost his mind” when he lost his job.

But on Sunday, Jan 7, Bannon released a statement claiming that his comments in ‘Fire and Fury’ were aimed at former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who also attended the June 2017 meeting, not Donald Trump Jr.

“Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man,” Bannon claimed in his statement. “He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.”

Mr. Bannon also claimed in his statement that his support for the Trump administration was “unwavering” and that he regrets his delay in responding to the circumstances that he describes as having “diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency.”

In response to Bannon’s recent statement, Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley stated that he doesn’t believe that there is “any way back for Mr. Bannon at this point.”

“When you go after somebody’s family,” Deputy Press Secretary Gidley continued, “in the manner in which he did — two of the President’s children who are serving this nation, sacrificing in their service — it is repugnant, it is grotesque. And I challenge anybody to go and talk about someone else’s family and see if that person doesn’t come back and come back hard.”

On Oprah’s Speech

Another reporter asked if the president had any reaction to Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes the previous night.

After accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, Ms. Winfrey delivered a speech that was met with a standing ovation. In her speech, Winfrey addressed the honor of being the first black woman to receive the award, the importance of the press, and the significance of the recent #metoo movement.

In the opening of the awards ceremony, host Seth Meyers jokingly conveyed his desire to see Oprah Winfrey run for president in the 2020 presidential elections. Meyer’s jest, paired with Winfrey’s rousing speech, has prompted an frenzied online speculation of the possibility.

In response, Deputy Press Secretary Gidley stated that the Trump administration welcomed the challenge of any political opponent in the next presidential election, “whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else.”

Gidley stated that President Trump will “absolutely” run for office in 2020, and that as a result, whoever decides to run against the current president in the upcoming elections will “have to face a President who has record-setting achievements in record- setting time, whether it’s an economy that is booming, job creation, historic tax cuts and tax reform when that hadn’t been touched in 30 years, an increase in wages, an absolute decimation of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.”

According to Deputy Press Secretary Gidley, President Trump works tirelessly for the American people and “exhibits yeoman-like work every day in this job.”

“The results don’t lie,” Gidley asserted.

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Yeji-Jesse Lee

Yeji is covering the White House.

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