- Kevin Hagen/AP
White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly resisted the shake-up of the National Security Council’s hierarchy that led to his removal from the group.
According to a New York Times report published Wednesday, Bannon at one point threatened to quit if the change was executed.
Bannon had been notably absent from recent meetings, The Times’ Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush wrote, adding that doubts had been simmering among some of President Donald Trump’s closest advisers after the administration stumbled in its early weeks.
Politico reported Wednesday night, citing several unnamed sources, that a major donor talked Bannon out of quitting, even as Bannon reportedly grew frustrated with his waning influence while top advisers like Jared Kushner were given greater responsibility.
Trump rattled the US intelligence community when he enacted an order in January that gave Bannon a seat on the National Security Council’s principals’ committee, the main policymaking group in matters mainly relating to national security. At the same time, other officials including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence – who traditionally would hold a seat – were demoted.
The Times said Trump considered undoing the reorganization soon after it was carried out but decided not to, reportedly fearing greater fallout.
The group is now led by Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who The Times said orchestrated the administrative shuffle that removed Bannon from the picture.
Bannon insisted earlier Wednesday that his exit from the committee was planned, calling it a “natural evolution,” and not a reduction of his stature inside the White House, The Times said.