Officials: President Trump demands feuding aides 'work this out'

Officials say Trump ordered his staff to settle their differences.

ByJohn Santucci, Katherine Faulders, Alexander Mallin, Jonathan Karl and Devin Dwyer
April 08, 2017, 4:40 PM

— -- Just as President Trump was convening a consequential summit with China and deliberating on U.S. strikes against Syria, he directly intervened in an escalating feud between two of his closest aides, demanding that they "work this out," several administration sources tell ABC News.

Trump confronted chief strategist Steve Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus on Thursday, after repeated negative headlines regarding infighting between Bannon and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner enflamed the president’s frustration, a senior administration official said.

Bannon and Kushner had been allies during the campaign but their relationship has soured over a growing ideological divide, sources say. Bannon's signature nationalist views have at times clashed with the globalist inclinations of Kushner, who has also previously identified as a Democrat.

On Friday, after the China summit had concluded in Mar-a-Lago, Kushner and Bannon sat down face to face for a meeting organized and attended by Priebus, senior administration officials told ABC News. The session was an attempt to smooth things over, get on the same page and move forward on President Trump's agenda, the officials said.

Just two days earlier, news broke that Bannon had been removed from the principals committee of the National Security Council as part of an overhaul approved by the president and endorsed by Kushner.

Multiple White House officials said Bannon had threatened to resign over the effective demotion, a warning that sources said "stunned" the president. But to ABC News, Bannon flatly denied the reports, calling them "absurd."

The weeklong episode has raised the prospect of a shake-up in the West Wing.

The president is said to be considering making staff changes, but specific moves or timing have not been discussed and nothing appears imminent, several sources tell ABC News.

Asked this week about his staff and a possible reboot, Trump told reporters on Air Force One: "I think we have shaken things up, but I think we've had one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency."

Publicly, White House staff deny that the rumors of a major overhaul amount to anything more than that -- rumors.

"These reports are as absurd as all of the other erroneous gossip columns that have preceded them," assistant press secretary Michael Short told ABC News.

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