Politics

Trump Adds Rick Perry To National Security Council, Removes Steve Bannon

Bannon had been elevated to the national security group in an unprecedented move in January. He will retain his role as senior adviser for domestic affairs.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry.

President Donald Trump has reshuffled the National Security Council to include former Texas Governor and current Energy Secretary Rick Perry and remove chief strategist Steve Bannon from his controversial role on the National Security Council.

The changes come just months after Trump elevated Bannon to the position.

Bannon will no longer be a regular attendee of the principals committee of the NSC, but he will retain his role as senior adviser for domestic affairs.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford have been elevated to the principals committee again after their roles within that group were changed shortly after Trump took office.

Bannon’s presence on the NSC principals committee showed the considerable influence the former head of Breitbart News, the controversial right-wing news outlet that became a platform for the so-called alt-right movement, now wielded in the West Wing.

Now a new presidential memorandum, published Tuesday in the Federal Register, removes Bannon from his permanent place on the NSC, which no previous top White House political adviser had ever held.

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, left, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, arrive for a Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Washington.

Bannon said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal that while Obama national security adviser “Susan Rice operationalized the NSC during the last administration[,] I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalized. General McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function.”

McMaster was named national security adviser in late February after Michael Flynn, Trump’s first pick for that role, was fired less than a month into the job following revelations that he had misled Vice President Pence over his conversations with a Russian official on U.S. sanctions during the transition.

According to the Federal Register, the new memo also adds the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the secretary of the Energy Department to the principals committee.

And in another change, the national security adviser will set the agenda for the council as well as for the Homeland Security Council, and can delegate that at his discretion. Previously the homeland security adviser was able to set the agenda.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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