Steve Bannon 'ain't going anywhere' despite negative press: Sources

An embattled Steve Bannon appears to be digging in against a storm of bad press suggesting he's on his way out, sources familiar with the inner workings of the White House told NBC News.

The White House chief strategist "ain't going anywhere," sources close to him said.

Bannon was removed from his position on the National Security Council this week, a shakeup that the White House denied was part of a "power struggle" within the administration. Officials discussing the move said Bannon was originally placed on the council as a check to then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who resigned in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his contact with a Russian ambassador.

RELATED: Reactions to Bannon's removal from National Security Council

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Reactions to Bannon's removal from National Security Council
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Reactions to Bannon's removal from National Security Council
Bannon should never have been on the National Security Council, he should be removed from the White House next. https://t.co/utZJXD9Wz4
White nationalists don’t belong on the National Security Council. They also don’t belong in the White House.… https://t.co/IacBhGYvCp
BREAKING NEWS! After swell of support for my bill to kick Steve Bannon off the NSC, he has been removed from NSC! #DepoliticizeTheNSC #FL07
Positive sign in terms of NSC process to extent it's relevant. One might note Kushner is not on NSC, yet appears to… https://t.co/rmpv5Zl1iM
I'm no management expert, but WH putting Bannon on NSC solely out of fear WH's chosen NSA might do something crazy seems an odd explanation
WOW! Steve Bannon tossed from National Security Council! After watching yesterday's new ads, Trump is replacing him with a can of Pepsi.
In war for WH, GOP, Pence & Priebus were always going to win - it was just a matter of when, not if. Bannon move proof.
Sen Cardin on Bannon being off the NSC: "If that is true..I'd be very pleased...my hope is that he has no role in government at all."
BREAKING: Steve Bannon is off the NSC! If I'm a betting woman, w the world in chaos, I'd bet McMaster finally told Trump my way or I'm gone!
BREAKING: Steve Bannon off the National Security Council. Good move. He should never have been on it. 👍
Good news that white nationalist Steve Bannon is off NSC Principals Committee. Would be even better news if here were out of WH altogether.
guess you could say they’ll be bannon him from future meetings, yes, this is a cry for help https://t.co/z6D1xjjSGv
Senior WH official says Bannon's mission on the NSC was to keep an eye on Flynn as he "de-operationalized" the NSC from Rice. "Mission Done"
We haven't heard much at all about H. R. McMaster recently, but he has respect across the board, and this is likely his doing. #Bannon
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Related: Steve Bannon Removed From National Security Council

On Saturday, one source said Bannon's message was this: "Democrats will never run the White House."

The comment apparently refers to Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and senior economic adviser Gary Cohn, who are believed to be Bannon's rivals for power. He has reportedly nicknamed them, the "West Wing Democrats."

NBC News reached out to the White House for response but did not hear back.

In an email to The New York Times, Trump spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders pushed back against reports of discontent in the White House. "Once again this is completely false story driven by people who want to distract from the success taking place in this administration," she wrote.

Bannon attended a meeting with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Kushner with the intent of presenting a united front, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Photos of Bannon:

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White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon speaks with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and White House Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks walk along the colonnade ahead of a joint press conference by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (R) and Senior Counselor Steve Bannon board Air Force One at West Palm Beach International airport in West Palm Beach, Florida U.S., February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon (L) and senior aide Kellyanne Conway speak at meeting hosted by Trump with cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
FILE PHOTO: Chief White House strategist Steve Bannon (L) sits with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (C) and senior advisor Stephen Miller during a swearing-in ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump (L-R), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump signs a memorandum to security services directing them to defeat the Islamic State in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. Pictured with him are White House senior advisor Steve Bannon (L-R), National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Vice President Mike Pence, Deputy National Security Advisor K. T. McFarland, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, National Security Council Chief of Staff Keith Kellogg and senior advisor Kellyanne Conway. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist for US President-elect Donald Trump, talks on the phone outside Trump Tower in New York on December 9, 2016.

(DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (R) and senior counselor Steve Bannon (L) hold meetings at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. December 28, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon is pictured backstage during a campaign event in Eau Claire, Wisconsin U.S. November 1, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon (R) is pictured talking to a reporter after a campaign event in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. October 29, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegr's)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon holds a campaign rally the Reno-Sparks Convention Center November 5, 2016 in Reno, Nevada. With less than a week before Election Day in the United States, Trump and his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are campaigning in key battleground states that each must win to take the White House.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign CEO Steve Bannon (C) listens to Trump speak during his final campaign rally on Election Day in the Devos Place November 8, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Trump's marathon last day of campaigning stretched past midnight and into Election Day.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Steve Bannon gets off the plane with US President-elect Donald Trump arrives at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Kentucky, for the start of the 'USA Thank You Tour' at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016.

(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Steve Bannon, chief strategist for Donal Trump, leaves after the motorcade of US President-elect arrived at Trump Tower on December 10, 2016 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Steve Bannon, (L) chief strategist for Donal Trump, exits Trump Tower on December 13, 2016 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Steve Bannon, senior counselor to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, arrives to attend meetings between Trump and business leaders at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. December 28, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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Sources say Priebus organized the meeting Friday afternoon with Bannon and Kushner. Sources familiar with the conversation say the roughly hour-long meeting was a "bury the hatchet" session.

Sources say Priebus said, "We need to work together. We came off an amazing week. We should we be celebrating this and not having a bunch of stories about who is up and who is down." The discussion acknowledged that they can "fight it out on policy, that's one thing." But sources said, they recognize the need to stop the "back-biting and get it all out."

As the chief of staff, Priebus was described as sending a message, "if you don't like it, then move on." More broadly, allies of Bannon were described as "blowing off steam" with the tensions they expressed in the wake of policy decisions like the Syrian strike.

Bannon is believed to see himself as the protector of the president's campaign promises, a kind of ideological compass. Sources said he wants to stay to keep "fighting for the president's agenda."

But is that what the president wants?

For now, signs point to yes — but a number of high-profile staffing changes during his campaign suggest the president is willing to make changes to his team if he's not getting what he wants.

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