From its inception, under President George H.W. Bush, the Principals Committee of the National Security Council has provided American presidents with their experience and expertise. This group has always been solely military and intelligence officers, no politicians or political advisors allowed, But by executive order last week, Donald Trump granted membership with a security clearance to Steve Bannon, Trump’s top political advisor.
What is shocking about this decision are two things. First, Bannon is not a military or intelligence officer; instead, he’s Trump’s political strategist. Second, the military and the intelligence community will no longer be at every meeting while Bannon will be at every meeting. Bannon is the controversial former top editor of the white nationalist, white supremacist Breitbart News, who resigned six months ago, just before joining Trump’s campaign.
Now as a member of the Principals Committee, Bannon will influence decisions related to national security. The Trump administration says the move will make better use of the senior military officers’ time but opponents say Bannon will introduce politics where up to now there was only non-partisan discussion and analysis, crucial to our national and international security.