Tag Archives: principals committee

Time to lube the ‘machine,’ Mr. POTUS

Donald J. Trump’s “fine-tuned machine” has been misfiring almost since the jalopy rolled into the White House.

Now we hear that senior policy adviser Steven Bannon and the president’s son-in-law/adviser Jared Kushner are at each other’s throats almost daily.

Is this how a “fine-tuned machine” runs, Mr. President? Many of us out here in the peanut gallery don’t think that’s the case.

Trump pledged “best people”

The president vowed to surround himself with the “best people” ever assembled to run the government’s executive branch.

Bannon came on board after serving as editor of Breitbart News, the ultra-right wing media outlet. Kushner married well, as he is Ivanka Trump’s husband. Neither man has government experience. They’re both strong-willed, however, which might explain why they are fighting constantly.

Here’s another wrinkle.

Until this week, Bannon had a seat on the principals committee of the National Security Council. Then the president moved him off the panel.

Bannon’s been fighting with Kushner for weeks. The president loves his daughter and doesn’t want her husband injured while butting heads with Bannon.

Hmmm. Is there linkage between the bickering inside the West Wing and Bannon’s demotion from the principals committee?

Break out the lube oil, Mr. President.

Trump makes sound national security move … finally!

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.

Hey, what about Bannon and the NSC?

It’s almost impossible to keep up with all the stories that pass through the light of intense publicity only to disappear into the darkness … as it relates to Donald John Trump’s administration.

Remember the story about Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart.com executive, alleged white nationalist, political adviser becoming a member of the principals committee on the National Security Council?

Bannon is still on the NSC. He’s still getting the regular briefings, sitting in a chair that should be filled by the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and the director of national intelligence. Trump demoted those two military and intelligence leaders in favor of partisan political animals such as Bannon.

He’s a political hack who serves on one of the most ostensibly non-political bodies in our massive federal government.

Why is this guy still there? Why is the new national security adviser, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster sitting or standing still for this travesty?

Bannon doesn’t belong on the principals committee. He now serves as chief political adviser for the president. He fulfills an entirely different role, vastly separate from anything that the National Security Council does. The NSC’s role is to provide the president with keen, sharp and non-political analysis of national security threats. The national security adviser essentially is the chief administrative official of the NSC. From all that I’ve read and heard about Lt. Gen. McMaster, he appears to be a scholar with a superb military mind.

Bannon status as political hack in chief ought to disqualify him from such his posting as a member of the principals committee.

Yet this story stays hidden in the background.

What kind of advice does Bannon give the president when, say, a Middle East nation moves on another one? What kind of advice does he offer when North Korea lobs a missile into Seoul, South Korea? Or when Hamas starts firing ordnance from Gaza into neighborhoods in southern Israel?

Bannon offers no national security credibility. There he is, though. He’s perched among the other “principals” offering advice to the president of the United States.

This guy frightens the crap out of me.

Mullen is right about Bannon: He doesn’t belong on NSC

Michael Mullen knows a thing or three about national security.

He’s a retired Navy admiral who served as Joint Chiefs chairman under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Mullen also believes that Donald Trump’s chief political adviser — Steve Bannon — should not be on the principals committee of the National Security Council.

My reaction? No-o-o-o-o!

Mullen has written his feelings in an op-ed published by the New York Times.

Mullen made his point clear. Bannon is a political hand. He is not a national security expert. Indeed, Trump demoted the current Joint Chiefs chair and the director of national intelligence to make room for the former Brietbart.com editor, and a guy believed to harbor dangerous views about white supremacy.

“Every president has the right and the responsibility to shape the security council as he sees fit,” Mullen added. “But partisan politics has no place at that table. And neither does Mr. Bannon.”

The NSC is a place where experts share their knowledge about imminent national security threats and make recommendations to the president on how to deal with them.

What in the world does Bannon bring to that discussion? Nothing, as far as I can tell.

Steve Bannon … national security expert? C’mon!

I’m still trying to catch my breath over the news of how Donald J. Trump has revamped his — I mean our — National Security Council.

He has rolled back the emphasis of two key players: the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence.

These two individuals no longer will take part in what is called the “principals committee,” the panel that meets regularly with the president to assess national security threats and to deliver critical advice on how to handle those threats.

Who, though, is going to sit in? Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart.com — the right-wing website that has for some time spewed white nationalist rhetoric.

Steve “Bleeping” Bannon! This guy has taken a job as senior adviser to the president. He became the chairman of the campaign that resulted in Trump’s election.

His national security chops? His expertise on how to fight the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram? What knowledge does this guy bring to developing a strategy to rein in Kim Jong Un, or the ayatollahs who run Iran?

As near as I can tell, Bannon is unqualified to sit on the principals committee. He is no more suited to have access to the nation’s top security secrets than, oh, I am.

I keep wondering whether Bannon is going to advise the president in purely political terms about national security strategy. Aren’t these issues above and beyond partisan political concerns?

Trump’s unconventional presidency keeps taking strange and bizarre turns. The very idea that he would kick the Joint Chiefs chairman and the DNI to the curb — to make room for the likes of a political hack — is, as former national security adviser Susan Rice described it, “stone cold crazy.”