Let’s be honest, it’s only been twelve days into the Trump Presidency, and the onslaught of Executive Orders, news items, and White House staff shuffling has been unceasing. For many, it feels difficult to keep up with everything that’s been happening, and for the growing numbers of bipartisan constituents upset over many of President Trump’s actions - it’s been challenging to keep track of all their grievances.
A prominent change that did take place this past weekend, but didn’t get as much coverage, is the change President Trump made in the National Security Council. Through a memorandum, Trump promoted his political strategist, Steve Bannon, to a permanent spot on the NSC; while basically demoting the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as the Director of National Intelligence.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the highest-ranking military officer in the United States and the Director of National Intelligence is the highest-ranking intelligence officer. Both of these positions were held by officers with longtime experience and knowledge, and now they will only be invited to meetings when they are thought to be necessary - while Bannon has a permanent seat at the head of the table.
While there are a number of reasons as to why this shuffle is troubling, the most prominent problem is that Bannon has zero national security experience and is working for a president with no national security or political experience. Compound this with an already turbulent political stage, and the security of our nation feels increasingly unstable.
Another major problem the public has with Bannon on the NSC, is due to his own history. Bannon, until recently, served as the chairman for Breitbart news. An online publication widely known for its openly hostile racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and white nationalist views. On his own radio show, Bannon has postured on numerous occasions about the United States going to war with Islam and China. From listening to his show, it becomes evident that Bannon may be quite obsessed with war, even saying back in December of 2015: “It’s war. It’s war. Every day, we put up: America’s at war, America’s at war.”
At a time where global peace already feels increasingly fragile each day, removing top National Security Council officers and placing the Council in the hands of Steve Bannon feels a bit like placing a bull in a china shop.