Trump Removes Bannon from NSC Post
Even Steve Bannon, close to Trump’s side since the beginning of his presidency, isn’t safe from the swirls of controversy and continual chaos plaguing the young administration. On Wednesday, President Trump elected to remove Bannon from his already controversial National Security Council seat to the delight of many in Washington.
The New York Times reported that, prior to the official move, Bannon had threatened to resign altogether if removed from his NSC post. Bannon has since called the allegation “total nonsense.” In his official statement on the matter, the former chairman of Breitbart noted, “Susan Rice operationalized the NSC during the last administration. I was put on the NSC with General Flynn to ensure that it was de-operationalized. General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function.”
Now what “operationalized” means was never actually clarified by Mr. Bannon. Regardless, his comments that, following Flynn’s departure, “that job is done,” make it appear he is in agreement that his role with the NSC had organically come to an end. Now, what that original job was is still up for debate.
Naturally, White House officials jumped to state that no power plays were involved in the decision. According to sources, Trump had guaranteed Army 3-star General H.R. McMaster full control to reorganize the NSC as he saw fit. Even further, Trump’s new order brought the Homeland Security Council under the oversight of General McMaster, undoing the initial action to separate the two.
While timing does seem to line up with the idea that Bannon was simply no longer needed under the new organizational structure, it doesn’t stop speculation that Trump was ready to rid himself of Bannon in general. As policies advised by Bannon, such as the travel ban, left Trump and his administration in hot water, feelings between the two began to shift. Others state that Bannon angered Trump by not fully disclosing all details from the original order that left him criticized. A few close to the President have even hinted that Trump is irritated over the credit Bannon garnered over the political agenda, not to mention the “President Bannon” jokes that had begun to circulate. It’s no surprise an ego like Trump’s can’t take such a hit without a counter-move.
Motives aside, many in the Capitol are pleased with the decision, considering it a small victory and hopeful sign that this administration is headed in the right direction. Adam Schiff (D), representative from California and a leading voice on the House Intelligence Committee, was quoted saying, “He didn’t belong on the principals committee to begin with – doesn’t really belong in the White House at all. I hope that this is a sign that McMaster is taking control of the National Security Council.”
Schiff isn’t alone in that hope. But with Trump’s record of reactionary and unadvised decisions, the country will just have to hold its breath, as it’s become so accustomed to doing in these first 100 days, and see how it all unfolds.