The White House chief political strategist and far-right pundit, Steve Bannon, is no longer a member of the US National Security Council (NSC). The White House released a new memorandum on the composition of the NSC on Wednesday.
Since Susan Rice, the NSC’s Principals Committee comprises of secretaries of state and defense. President Donald Trump‘s decision to give Steve Bannon was evaluated by Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders as “dangerous and unprecedented” and Republican Senator John McCain a “radical departure” from established norms and was, in fact, awkward for two reasons.
First, besides being the “political strategist” of the White House, Steve Bannon is the publisher of Breibart, a platform that gives voice to far-right ideologues like David Horowitz, Geert Wielders, while being a fervent supporter of Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen. Steve Bannon is not a crude far-right thinker, but actually a well-read intellectual theorist of the far-right that quotes fascist philosophers. His flirtation with fascism made his membership of the administration, let alone the NSC, somewhat controversial.
Secondly, having Steve Bannon on the NSC’s Principals Committee was especially controversial given the fact that the director of national intelligence and the Joint Chiefs were “invited,” but not permanent members. At this point the undercurrent standoff of the Trump administration with the intelligence services appears to be endangering national security.
Bloomberg reports that the decision to remove Bannon from the NSC was taken on Tuesday, reinstating the permanent seats of the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, and General the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford. For that decision, the Wall Street Journal credits President Trump’s new security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.
A senior White House official told Reuters that Bannon was meant to keep an eye on Michael Flynn, which is difficult to understand since both were appointees of the same President.
Michael Flyn was forced to resign in Ferbruary because he allegedly lied to the Vice President about his contacts with Russian officials; however, last week he offered to tell “a story” if he is granted immunity.