President Trump’s ex-strategist: White House aides must defend president

US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON  — President Donald Trump’s ex-strategist is blasting White House aides who publicly distanced themselves from the president’s response to Charlottesville — yet stick it out in the West Wing.

Steve Bannon, in a CBS interview weeks after he was pushed out, singled out President Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn, saying, “If you don’t like what he’s doing and you don’t agree with it, you have an obligation to resign.”

Cohn, in an interview with The Financial Times, had sharply denounced President Trump for saying that “many sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and criticized the administration’s response to incident.

Bannon’s take: “You can tell him, ‘Hey, maybe you can do it a better way.’ But if you’re going to break, then resign. If you’re going to break with him, resign.”

Asked if Cohn should have quit, Bannon said: “Absolutely.”

Bannon, a favorite among the farther-right in the GOP, was jettisoned from his post in August after a turbulent seven months in the West Wing. He returned to Breitbart News, which he led before joining President Trump’s campaign.

Calling himself a “street fighter,” Bannon said “that’s why Donald Trump and I get along so well. I’m going to be his wing man outside for the entire time.”

Bannon also used the “60 Minutes” interview to criticize the Roman Catholic church, after church leaders denounced PresidentTrump’s decision to end a program that protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. He said bishops “need illegal aliens to fill the churches.”

The bishops, Bannon said, “have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration. … This is not doctrine at all.”