Former top Trump aide Steve Bannon: President 'needs to unite the West against the rise of a totalitarian China'

  • President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon said Tuesday that Trump needs to end the Cold War on "our terms," a day after the president appeared with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Finland.
  • "POTUS knows he needs to end the Cold War on our terms, and unite the West against the rise of a totalitarian China,“ Bannon told CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.
  • In January, the president disavowed his erstwhile top advisor in a harshly worded statement.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Tuesday praised President Donald Trump for his widely criticized appearance with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Monday in Finland.

“The elites in our country left President Trump with disasters all across the globe, specifically in Korea, Afghanistan and Iran," Bannon said in a statement to CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. "He rejects the 'managed declined' philosophy of America's political class. POTUS knows he needs to end the Cold War on our terms, and unite the West against the rise of a totalitarian China.“

Trump came under fire from critics for giving the impression he accepted Putin's denials that Russia interfered with the 2016 election over U.S. intelligence conclusions to the contrary. On Tuesday, the president tried to walk back his statements, saying he accepted the intelligence findings, but added that it "could be other people also. A lot of people out there."

Bannon, a self-described "economic nationalist," shepherded the latter stages of Trump's presidential campaign as its chief executive officer. Later, he served for less than a year as a strategist in the White House. After exiting the Trump administration, the former Breitbart chief supported anti-establishment Republicans as well as a number of right-wing nationalist parties overseas.

He landed himself in hot water for comments he made to Michael Wolff, the author of a book chronicling the first months of the Trump administration that made waves earlier this year when it was released. Bannon called Trump's daughter, White House advisor Ivanka Trump, "dumb as a brick," and labeled Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. "treasonous."

In January, the president disavowed his former top advisor in a harshly worded statement.

"Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency," Trump said at the time. "When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."

Caruso-Cabrera will interview Bannon on Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. at CNBC's Delivering Alpha Conference in New York City. They will discuss the November midterm elections, China and Trump, among other issues.