Trump gives National Security Council seat to ex-Breitbart chief Steve Bannon

The Guardian reports: President Donald Trump granted controversial adviser Steve Bannon a regular seat at meetings of the National Security Council on Saturday, in a presidential memorandum that brought the former Breitbart publisher into some of the most sensitive meetings at the highest levels of government.

The president named Bannon to the council in a reorganization of the NSC. He also said his chief-of-staff Reince Priebus would have a seat in the meetings.

Trump also said the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the director of national intelligence, two of the most senior defense chiefs, will attend meetings only when discussions are related to their “responsibilities and expertise”. Barack Obama and George W Bush both gave the men in those roles regular seats on the council.

In an interview with the New York Times this week, Bannon called the press “the opposition party” and said it should “keep its mouth shut”. He has previously described himself as “a Leninist” and an “economic nationalist”.

Before he caught the ear of Trump while the businessman was a candidate, Bannon oversaw Breitbart news, a website that has featured racist and sexist articles. Like Trump, he entered government with no experience in public service. [Continue reading…]

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  1. We are now, apparently, in a 3rd-world situation where the only hope for rational governance lies with the military and intelligence agencies. Therefore, they must be suppressed as threats to the ruling clique. (How long will Mattis last at the Pentagon?) The natural conjecture is that Bannon — the worse-than-Cheney of the current regime — is preparing the NSC for … something.

  2. Paul Woodward says:

    Given Mattis’ previous comments about the Muslim ban, he should have already resigned — instead he stood dutifully by Trump’s side as the executive order was signed.

    Did he rationalize away his previous misgivings? Maybe the perception that he was willing to offer Trump adult supervision was mistaken and instead he simply couldn’t resist the offer of being able to run the Pentagon?

    There’s probably no more reason to hope that any individuals in pivotal positions are about to step up and do the right thing than there has been to expect similar acts of conscience any time in recent years. Every member of team Trump has succumbed to the corrupting influence of power.

    And who would have thought that the phrase, worse than Cheney, was going to find an application, yet with Bannon it certainly does. As for his designs, I’m still inclined to apply my general rule which is to assume he’s like nearly everyone else: he has none. He’s making it up as he goes along. Today Flynn might be his closest ally; tomorrow they might fall out.

    I think it would be hard to over-estimate the level of mutual mistrust that must pervade the White House.

    Those who agreed to work for Trump have about as much sound judgment as the followers of Jim Jones.

  3. On Mattis, I’ve been influenced the Guardian article on his startlingly rational analysis of the land-based ICBM system:

    Also, by the story that he was rejecting loony appointees in the DOD structure coming from Bannon-Trump.

    On Bannon: the worry is that he’s not as hare- brained as the rest and has a successful organizational track record, at Breitbart, in the Trump campaign, and now apparently in the in-fighting, where he seems to be cleaning out whole echelons of structure (State Dept, NSC) and getting his own people in place. Every Hitler needs his Himmler.

  4. Paul Woodward says:

    You may be right on both counts. But there’s another factor I wonder about that might be central to the way Trump operates: that he makes abundant use of physical intimidation. It’s important for him to be able to look down on those around him so that in the most cliched sense he can assert his role as the alpha male and that therefore makes me wonder whether Mattis, even when he knows better, will defer to his dominant commander.