Perhaps Steve Bannon isn’t quite as all-powerful within the Trump administration as everybody believed. He’s just been removed from the principals committee of the National Security Council. This news has been understood as a sign that Trump’s new National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster is now calling the shots on foreign policy.
The spin in Washington is that Bannon’s role on the NSC had been to act as a ‘check’ on the now disgraced former advisor Mike Flynn, who resigned in February, and with the more level-headed McMaster in charge he’s no longer needed. It’s also emerged that Bannon has kept full level national security clearance.
So what’s changed? Something, clearly, for all the naysaying of White House insiders. The obvious conclusion is that Bannon was considered too toxic for international diplomacy, and McMaster wanted him out. McMaster is currently trying to set out a bold new foreign policy agenda for the Trump administration. He could presumably do without a man whose worldview is known to be informed by apocalyptic ideas to do with Islamification and the crisis in Christendom.
It’s also a sign that the Trump administration is trying to establish more credibility in self-important diplomatic circles. Rumours suggest that the other key Team Trump adviser Jared Kushner, whose wife Ivanka yesterday expressed such outrage at the reported chemical bombing by the Assad regime, pushed Bannon’s job switch. The two have been quite close at the very beginning of the Trump era, but reports suggest their relationship has cooled.
Or it might be that Bannon was spread too thin across Trump’s entire agenda — and the President wanted him to focus on fixing his flopping approval ratings after his American Health Care Act was scuppered. As always with the Trump administration, everything is possible and nothing is too strange to be true. I mean, Rick Perry, the man Trump once said wore glasses ‘so people think he’s smart’ has now taken Bannon’s place on the principals committee.