With Bannon out, White House gets serious about national security
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 06, 2017,
Apr 06, 2017, 10:54
The memo no longer lists the chief strategist as a member of the principals committee, a group of high-ranking officials that convene to discuss pressing national security priorities.
There were concerns that Bannon, who led Trump's election campaign in its final months, would inject domestic policy considerations into national security discussions.
Trump's decision in January to include Bannon in the NSC was controversial since he has little national security experience.
"Steve Bannon's removal from the National Security Council will not only make America safer, but it's also a victory for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who took action and said a white nationalist, warmongering, political operative with no credentials shouldn't be anywhere near the epicenter of USA national security and foreign policy making", said Win Without War Director Stephen Miles in a statement.
The reorganization, which also affected several other key aides, largely brings a traditional structure back to the White House national security system.
Bannon was given a seat the NSC shortly after Trump ascended into the White House, a rare responsibility for senior White House advisers. With McMaster taking his position, the president doesn't see any more need for Bannon to stay, according to a White House official.
The official said Mr Bannon had been placed on the NSC originally as a check on Mr Flynn and had only ever attended one of the NSC's regular meetings.
The changes were revealed in a national security presidential memorandum published Wednesday in the Federal Register, the daily journal of the USA government.
A White House official told Bloomberg that the decision is not a demotion, but rather constitutes a natural end to Bannon's role on the principals committee. To change USA policy so profoundly, the Trump administration had to weather political attacks from the mainstream media, Democrats, Republican hawks, and much of the national-security establishment. "They are gonna continue to play important policy roles".
One of the groups, Jewish Voices for Peace, said that Bannon's removal comes just in time for Passover, which means that Jews have one more victory to celebrate. A US official confirmed to The Associated Press that Ezra Cohen-Watnick had access to those kinds of intelligence materials, but maintained he didn't play a role in helping the California congressman gain access to the documents.
It's hardly unusual for the energy secretary to be on the council-in fact, the Energy Secretary has been a statutory member since 2007, joining the president, vice president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense.
The New York Times reported Wednesday evening that Bannon "resisted the move", and threatened to resign if the change was made.
Another NSC official who may be sidelined is deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland.
Daniel Coats, a former Republican senator, is the director of national intelligence and Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford chairs the JCS, making him the country's highest ranking military officer. "General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function".