WASHINGTON, April 5, 2017 – Early on in the Trump Administration, the appointment of Steve Bannon, a Trump insider credited for getting candidate Trump elected to the Presidency, has been removed from the National Security Council’s Principals Committee.
The former executive chairman of Breitbart News, Bannon’s appointment to National Security drew criticism from some members of Congress and Washington’s foreign policy establishment.
According to White House officials, Bannon’s role on the counsel was, in part, to monitor Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who is fired by Trump on February 13 for non-disclosure of his conversations with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak held prior to President Trump’s inauguration.
It has also been reported that Bannon never attended a meeting and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in charge of the council his participation is redundant.
McMaster is now responsible for setting the agenda Homeland Security Council meetings; McMaster is further authorized to delegate authority to Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert.
Additionally the move makes way for Dan Coats, national intelligence director, and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps, to take on a more active role NSC’s principals committee.
The Principals Committee is a group of the president’s top national security officials whose role is to issues affecting national security, according to a White House memo published in the Federal Register Tuesday. Bannon’s position, Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist, has been removed from a White House memo that lists the members of the Principals Committee, who may attend these top security meetings.
Principals Committee members now include:
- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
- Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin
- Secretary of Defense General James Mattis
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions
- Secretary of Energy Rick Perry
- Secretary of Homeland Security General John F. Kelly
- Chief of Staff to the President Reince Preibus
- Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford
- Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo
- National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster
- Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert
- Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations Nikki Haley
- Counsel to the President Don McGahn (incumbent)
- Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs
In a Tramp Administration Executive Order that had prompted criticism of the young administration, Bannon had been added to the group. Bannon’s role in the White House has always been framed as a political strategist, not as a member of the national security team.