The appointment of Steve Bannon’s Trump’s chief political strategist to the National Security Council (NSC) has raised questions among other officials.
Bannon is well known for his nationalist views and opposition for globalisation and has been directly involved in shaping Trump’s policies on immigration according to the Independent newspaper. The paper’s sources wanted anonymity to protect their position.
Bannon’s elevation to the NSC came in at the same time as the travel ban which has caused widespread chaos and protests since going live. The NSC was not consulted prior to the ban. The idea of the NSC is to give the president all perspective on all policies in an effort to find the right one.
This could be because the NSC is still taking shape with key positions yet to be filled. The secretary of state position together with other department heads are either waiting for confirmation or have little time to get up to speed on the issues.
Bannon’s promotion to the NSC saw two other positions become downgraded to only sit on the council when “they are needed.” The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence will now no longer be present at the meetings unless requested.
Former Obama defence secretary and CIA director Robert M. Gates, said, that “pushing [the DNI and Joint Chiefs chairman] out of the National Security Council meetings, except when their specific issues are at stake, is a big mistake.”
He added they were indispensable at telling presidents what they needed to hair regardless of whether they wanted to hear it.
Trump’s NSC is likely to be around the same size as the Obama administration according to the official and that all White House payroll positions have been filled.
When the White House press secretary was asked about Bannon’s appointment, he replied, he “is a former naval officer. He’s got a tremendous understanding of the world and the geopolitical landscape that we have now.”