As per a 4/5/17 Hill report by Jordan Fabian, the White House has announced that the republican President Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon will no longer be serving as a principal on the National Security Council.”
Bannon in January was elevated to a position on the NSC principals committee, in a shakeup of the council. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and director of national intelligence had their roles downgraded in the move.
“The Joint Chiefs chairman and intelligence director are having their roles on the principals committee restored, according to a regulatory filing dated Tuesday (4/4/17).”
“Bannon said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal: “Susan Rice ope-rationalized the NSC during the last administration. I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalized. General H.R. McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function.”
Bloomberg first reported the move Wednesday morning.
CNN is reporting on 4/5/17, “”Multiple sources looked to minimize the removal. One argued that Bannon was put on the council to ensure that it no longer “micro-managed” foreign policy and was put on a more “operational track.”
On 4/5/17, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post clarified why Mr. Bannon no longer being a NSC principal is a good thing in her article, “Five reasons why Bannon leaving the National Security Council matters.”
“First, in conjunction with McMaster’s hiring of non-military foreign policy experts, ridding the NSC of Bannon can be seen as one more effort to normalize the NSC and make it functional. Considering how dangerous the world is these days, this is a good thing.”
“Second, it is a demotion for Bannon, who never should have been there. He has no foreign policy expertise but does have a fondness for right-wing nationalist European parties and their sponsors in the Kremlin. One reason why Bannon is spinning furiously is because a reduction in status tells other in the administration that Bannon can be quarantined. Perhaps that will embolden more mature, moderate voices in the administration.”
“Third, Bannon’s pro-Putin bent was as embarrassing as it was unworkable. Especially for an administration accused of benefiting from Russian meddling in our election, the president would be wise to put a whole lot of daylight between himself and Vladimir Putin. Even aside from the Russia scandal, President Trump’s chummy approach to Putin is evaporating in the gas of Syria, revealing Putin to be a war criminal with whom we cannot simply “get along.” The quicker that realization sinks in, the faster we can come up with an actual policy to check Russian aggression. Bannon’s NSC banishment helps accelerate that process.”
“Fourth, Bannon’s departure is a hugely reassuring sign that McMaster — perhaps with assistance from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly and, if he perks up, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — has the gravitas to take charge of the process of making and presenting foreign policy to the president. We badly need direction on everything, including Syria, Iran and China. Developing and implementing foreign policy will only work if these professionals cooperate and have a smooth process for raising issues and formulating policy.”
“Fifth, maybe, just maybe, the president is beginning to comprehend how difficult and serious foreign policy can be. Contrary to his ill-conceived and obnoxious statement rushing to blame Obama for Syria (rather than the murderous regime or Russia, and ignoring that Trump counseled against action in Syria), everything from here on out is his responsibility, and his fault if things go poorly. His national security team, with the exception of Tillerson who is on a steep learning curve, is impressive. Now he needs to let them do their jobs.”
According to a 4/5/17 Reuters report by Steve Holland and John Walcott, “Trump’s overhaul of the NSC, confirmed by a White House official, also elevated General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence who heads all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. The official said the change moves the NSC “back to its core function of what it’s supposed to do.”
“It also appears to mark a victory by national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who had told some national security experts he felt he was in a battle to the death with Bannon and others on the White House staff.”
“Trump’s White House team has grappled with infighting and palace intrigue. In recent days, several other senior U.S. foreign policy and national security officials have said the mechanisms for shaping the Trump administration’s response to pressing challenges such as Syria, North Korea and Iran were still not in place.”
“McMaster, two current national security officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also has dueled with Bannon and others over direct access to Trump; the future of deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, a former Fox News commentator; intelligence director Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a Flynn appointee; and other staffing decisions.Trump is preparing for his first face-to-face meeting on Thursday and Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping with the threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs a key component of their talks.”
Note: This blog was last updated on 4/5/17.