Led by the Mercers, Bannon’s Allies Abandon Him


Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, in October in Arizona.

Laura Segall for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Enthusiasm for Stephen K. Bannon’s plans for a fiery Republican revolution had already been fading among some of the donors and candidates upon whom he was relying to upend the party’s establishment.

But his provocative remarks about President Trump and his family, reported in a new book now scheduled to be published this week, and Mr. Trump’s angry response, further alienated some of Mr. Bannon’s most important backers — including the family of the hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer — leaving Mr. Bannon confronting a dire fate for a publicity-hungry provocateur: political irrelevance.


Robert Mercer, right, and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, once major funders of Mr. Bannon’s enterprises, are said to have distanced themselves from him.

Oliver Contreras/The Washington Post, via Getty Images

The Mercers were blunt on Thursday in cutting the cord, reiterating support for Mr. Trump while disavowing Mr. Bannon’s remarks and disowning his political endeavors. “My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements,” Rebekah Mercer, Mr. Mercer’s daughter, said in a statement.

Mr. Bannon’s predicament highlights a stark reality in American politics, unchanged even after Mr. Trump’s convention-defying victory: The influence of even the most influential political strategists is inextricably linked to the donors behind them and the politicians in front of them.

“If Trump is openly breaking with him, that dramatically lowers his capital,” said Dan K. Eberhart, an Arizona oil investor and Republican donor who has spoken to Mr. Bannon about his plans to build an antiestablishment political operation. “He is a strategic thinker, and a lot of the things he said make sense, but this stuff from the book — I’m not going to defend that.”

The Mercer family, which had largely subsidized Mr. Bannon’s enterprises, began drifting from Mr. Bannon months ago amid concerns about how the controversy he was generating was affecting the family, according to family associates. The Mercers were upset further when they learned that Mr. Bannon had privately boasted that they would back him if he ran for president, according to one family associate. The Mercers cut off their funding for Mr. Bannon’s personal protective detail, the associate added.

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