Bannon dropped from National Security Council

United States President Donald Trump reshuffled his national security organisation yesterday, removing his chief strategist Stephen Bannon from a top policy-making committee and restoring senior military and intelligence officials who had been downgraded when he first came into office. Mr Bannon said that after losing its way during the Obama era, the NSC has been returned to its "proper function" by its boss since February, the national security adviser Lieutenant-General H.R. McMaster. I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalised.

Just 66 days after being appointed, Steve Bannon has stepped down from his position on the National Security Council after reportedly attending just one meeting held by the NSC Principals Committee, ending a tenure that has proven to be so short it was outlasted by Kim Kardashian's second marriage.

The decision, which one source with knowledge said was made by Trump himself, comes after the President in January authorized the reorganization of the National Security Council to include Bannon as a permanent member of the panel.

What actually happened, according to the White House, was that Bannon was no longer on a list of regular attendees of NSC "principals committee" meetings.

His removal from the security council comes as polls show Bannon is even less popular than Trump, whose 34 percent approval rating is the lowest of any president in history at this point in their first term.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the former chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted: "Steve Bannon's removal from National Security Council is welcome news".

"This is just a natural evolution to ensure the National Security Council is organized in a way that best serves the president in resolving and making those hard decisions", Pence said on Fox News. With the exception of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, the former chairman of Breitbart News is one of the president's kindred spirits. Bloomberg Politics notes that McMaster will now have greater control over the committee and will count the Homeland Security Council under his authority.

A White House official dismissed questions about a power struggle between Bannon and McMaster, saying they shared the same world view. Now that Flynn is gone, Bannon is no longer needed in the spot.

Trump's chief strategist has been officially axed from the principals committee, according to a security memo confirmed by the White House, the Daily Mail reported.

Others speculated that Mr Trump may have acted partly out of annoyance over reports that suggested that Mr Bannon, and not he, was the person actually running the country.

Trump rattled the USA intelligence community when he enacted an order in January that placed Bannon on the National Security Council's principals' committee, the main policy-making group in matters mainly relating to national security.

  • Carolyn Briggs