Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, will no longer sit on the National Security Council.
“As President, my highest priority is to ensure the safety and security of the American people,” the memo said.
Trump also downgraded the role of Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, according to Bloomberg.
National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, are back to being “regular attendees” of the NSC’s principals committee, the interagency forum that deals with policy issues affecting national security.
The moves come months after Trump signed a presidential memorandum that removed some of the nation’s top military and intelligence advisers, including Coats and Dunford, as regular attendees of the NSC’s principals’ committee and elevated Bannon to becoming a regular attendee. That shakeup was widely criticized.
A senior White House source told journalists that Bannon was put on the NSC only as a check on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and that he attended just one meeting. Now that Flynn is no longer on the NSC, it appears Bannon is no longer needed, either.
Two senior White House officials told The Washington Post that Bannon’s removal from the NSC was in no way a demotion.
Bannon will retain his national-security clearance, according to Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs.
Trump’s new national-security adviser, H.R. McMaster, made the decision to reshuffle the NSC, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Bannon told The Journal that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice “operationalized” the NSC during the Obama administration and he wanted to work against that.
“I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalized,” Bannon said. “General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function.”