It’s no secret that Steve Bannon has an especially bullish way of going about his business, and according to a newly released excerpt from Jared Kushner’s memoir, he brought that “toxic” energy with him into the White House.
In his memoir, “Breaking History: A White House Memoir” (due next month), Kushner writes that Bannon, who was recently convicted of criminal contempt of Congress but was then the Trump White House’s chief strategist, at one point threatened him with physical violence, saying he’d “break” him “in half.”
“Bannon single-handedly caused more problems for me than anyone else in my time in Washington,” Kushner writes. “He probably leaked and lied about me more than everyone else combined. He played dirty and dragged me into the mud of the Russia investigation.”
In the excerpt published Friday by CNN, Kushner also recalled one particularly intense encounter where he and Bannon really came to blows. The son-in-law of former president Donald Trump recalls approaching Bannon in the Cabinet Room after senior economic adviser Gary Cohn accused Bannon of leaking negative information about him to the press. It didn’t go over well.
Kushner writes that the conversation began with him saying, “Steve, you gotta stop leaking on Gary. We’re trying to build a team here.”
Bannon reportedly responded by flipping the script and accusing Cohn of leaking information about him to the press.
“Cohn’s the one leaking on me,” Kushner quotes Bannon as saying. Kushner then writes that he was accused of “undermining” Trump’s agenda and threatened with violence if he were to intervene any further.
Per Kushner: “‘Jared, right now, you’re the one undermining the President’s agenda,’ he continued, his eyes intense and voice escalating into a yell. ‘And if you go against me, I will break you in half. Don’t f— with me.'”
Kushner wraps his retelling of that encounter by remembering Bannon as “a black belt in the dark arts of media manipulation” and admitting that he was “woefully unprepared” to navigate their relationship.