- Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, suggested the Fox News host Tucker Carlson was the president’s most influential national security adviser.
- “If you don’t think Tucker Carlson has more influence on national security policy than many of the guys on the National Security Council, you’re wrong,” Bannon told a gathering hosted by the real-estate developer Richard Cohen, The Daily Beast reported.
- Trump mistrusts the advice of intelligence agencies and national security experts, instead leaning on the counsel of allies like media firebrand Carlson.
- Carlson has long been a champion of the “America First” isolationism that has characterized Trump’s foreign policy, defending the president’s willingness to broker relationships with authoritarian strongmen.
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Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s controversial former chief strategist, has claimed that the president’s most influential national security adviser isn’t one of the government’s top military official or experts with decades of experience – it’s the firebrand Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
“If you don’t think Tucker Carlson has more influence on national security policy than many of the guys on the National Security Council, you’re wrong,” Bannon said Wednesday at a gathering in Manhattan hosted by the wealthy real-estate developer Richard Cohen, The Daily Beast reported.
The claim that a TV host with zero experience in national security has Trump’s ear would be unlikely to surprise keen observers of the Trump White House.
Carlson has long been an outspoken defender of the “America First” isolationism that has guided Trump’s foreign policy, criticizing America’s involvement in long and costly foreign wars.
- Scott Olson/Getty Images
He has also defended Russia’s strongman president, Vladimir Putin, with whom Trump has controversially sought to broker closer ties.
It has long been reported that Carlson has played a pivotal role in some of Trump’s key foreign-policy decisions.
In June, he successfully outmaneuvered the neoconservative John Bolton – Trump’s national security adviser at the time, who Carlson has long castigated on his Fox News show – to successfully persuade the president at the last minute to abandon plans to bomb Iran.
He also accompanied Trump on his visit to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in July and subsequently defended the president for meeting the leader of a government with one of the worst human-rights records on earth – claiming that killing people was just part of the job for those leading a nation.
- Lev Radin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Trump has long mistrusted the analysis of career government officials or intelligence agencies, eschewing detailed briefing documents and instead relying on the counsel of media allies and associates from his days as a real-estate magnate and reality-TV star.
Last week, Susan Gordon, the former deputy director of national intelligence, said Trump would often push back during his daily intelligence briefing and express doubt over the evidence presented to him during her time advising him.
Before his ouster from Trump’s inner circle for criticizing the president’s family in remarks to the author Michael Wolff, Bannon was one of the key champions of the “America First” policies backed by Carlson. He waged a war against the “globalists” in the White House he accused of plotting to subvert the president’s nationalist agenda.
At the event on Wednesday, Bannon reportedly defended the president’s unconventional decision-making process.
“President Trump processes information” differently from his predecessors, Bannon said. “He understands the concept that mass communication is going to overwhelm kind of what reality is, right?”