I have been highly critical of Donald J. Trump’s assembling of his national security team.
But then — what do you know? — the president does something that makes eminent sense. He has removed his political hack/senior adviser Steve Bannon from the National Security Council and has elevated two men who should have been seated on the NSC’s principals committee in the first place.
Good call, Mr. President. May it be the first of many.
Bannon had no business serving on the principals committee. He is the former Breitbart News editor. He has the president’s ear on all matters political. His national security experience is next to zero.
Trump also demoted his homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, and elevated Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford. They now will be regular attendees of the principal committee.
Oh, there’s more. National security adviser H.R. McMaster has received full authority to set the agendas for meetings of the principals committee.
Someone got hold of the president’s ear and advised him in the strongest language possible of the folly of seeming to politicize the NSC’s principals committee — which is what Bannon’s presence on the committee did.
If there’s any aspect of a president’s duties that demands non-political consideration, it must be matters dealing with national security.
Donald Trump is entitled to have a top-drawer political hand giving him political advice. That adviser doesn’t need to be anywhere near where national security concerns are discussed.