Trump just made his first good decision by reversing his worst
On the same day that President Trump issued his historically misguided “Muslim Ban” the White House quietly dropped another bombshell that had the potential for far more historic implications—granting chief strategist Steve Bannon a place on the National Security Council while simultaneously restricting the roles of other historically permanent members.
Well, today, both the Muslim ban and Bannon’s seat are gone. At least for now.
So, the country finds itself in the unusual place of celebrating a rational move by Trump, arguably his wisest decision yet. But also one that derives its “wisdom” entirely from self-correcting a major blunder that was his worst decision so far.
Bloomberg reports that along with scaling back Bannon’s role, the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Joint Chiefs of Staff head Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford are returning to their roles as full-time members of the council. Bannon will still have clearance to attend the meetings.
The impetus behind the move is being attributed to new National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, who will reportedly take the lead role in shaping the agenda of future NSC meetings.
Interestingly, a White House source told Bloomberg that Bannon never actually attended a NSC meeting (though NBC disputes this claim), but was instead installed in the role “to monitor” former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was subsequently fired in disgrace over undisclosed meetings with Russian officials and a financial relationship with the Turkish government. According to NBC, Bannon felt that after Flynn was fired, and McMaster was hired, he no longer needed his own NSC role.
Whatever really led up to the change, many political insiders see it as potentially the first in a series of backward steps for Bannon as Trump potentially tries to pivot to a more mainstream friendly role as commander in chief. As one anonymous White House source told CNN:
“I always believed Steve would be first senior adviser to leave the White House. He's an ideologue. Trump is not. He has to get frustrated.”
But for the rest of Washington, and maybe the world, it’s a moment to let out a huge sigh of relief. The adults are asking for their seats back at the table and just maybe Trump is listening.