Steve Bannon, the former White House Chief Strategist and CEO of Trump campaign, said Trump didn’t need to walk-back his comments made during a joint news conference on Monday with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“I think the president did fine,” Bannon, a populist and nationalist, said at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Wednesday. “I think the hysteria that came from the opposition party media, the full meltdown, missed the big picture.”
He added that the meddling was on the margin.
“I thought the press conference was fine. I thought he could have been a little stronger about the meddling. At the end of the day, the Democrats are just going to have to embrace this — the meddling is on the margins, right. It’s just not that big of a deal.”
Bannon added: “What I didn’t like was yesterday. I didn’t like the walk-back.”
During the joint news conference with Putin, Trump failed to hold Russia accountable for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“I have President Putin — he just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said in Helsinki. “I will say this — I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
The day after meeting with Putin, Trump said that he misspoke.
“I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,'” Trump told reporters. “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.'”
Bannon found Trump’s walk-back off-brand.
“I didn’t like the walk-back yesterday. Here’s why — Donald Trump is strength. His brand is strength. If you’re strong, we’re going to galvanize people around you and you’re going to win in November. If you let people around you talking you into being weak and then the next day make up for it — those voices. The only voice — he doesn’t need to listen to Steve Bannon — what he needs to listen to is that inner voice. It got him here.”
Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.