Speed Reads

the grim reaper strikes

It wasn't President Trump who told Michael Flynn 'you're fired' — it was reportedly Stephen Bannon

President Trump apparently had chief strategist Stephen Bannon do the dirty work of asking National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to resign, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Bannon had reportedly been pushing for the dismissal since Friday, when it first came to light that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his discussion with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Initially, Flynn denied he and Kislyak had discussed U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia over alleged interference ahead of the U.S. presidential election — a claim Pence then repeated — only to later admit they had, in fact, talked about the sanctions.

By Tuesday morning, different versions of the story of Flynn's resignation were floating around. Counselor Kellyanne Conway said earlier Tuesday that Flynn "had decided it was best to resign" and had "made that decision." Then, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) suggested during a press conference Tuesday morning that Trump had been the one to request Flynn's resignation, a claim that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeated at his afternoon press conference.

Apparently it was Trump's love of loyalty that inspired him to foist the responsibility off on Bannon. A person who "frequently speaks to Trump" told Politico the president was hesitant to give Flynn the axe because he doesn't "like to fire people who are loyal." "He has this reputation of being a 'you're fired' kind of guy," the Trump insider said, "but he really didn't want to have that conversation."