US President Donald Trump removed White House chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council on advice from his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a report claims, citing a long-running fight between Kushner and Bannon.
Kushner, a one-time New York Democrat, believed that Bannon’s desire to deconstruct the government was hurting the president, Politico reported on Wednesday.
“Big fight is between nationalists and the ‘West Wing Democrats,'” the report quoted an unnamed senior administration official as saying.
Known as a hardliner nationalist and mocked by critics as the real president because of his influence on Trump, Bannon was removed from his position on the NSC’s principals committee on Tuesday.
The shakeup also saw the role of Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert downgraded, stripping him the authority to convene or chair the principals committee as Trump had originally authorized him.
Instead, Bossert would serve those roles as delegated by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, whose public statements often differed from those of Bannon.
The changes gave McMaster more control over the NSC, while putting the Homeland Security Council under his authority.
“McMaster won,” one NSC official told Politico.
People familiar with Kushner’s way of thinking knew that in his eyes Bannon was a big problem for Trump’s popularity.
Apparently, Kushner came to this conclusion after spending a long time asking inside and outside advisers about the White House's performance.
This analysis is consistent with Trump’s rising confidence in his son-in-law, having tasked him with such sensitive matters as brokering a peace deal between Palestine and Israel.
Kushner is also one of the key Trump associates involved in the investigation into his alleged ties to the Russian government.
Earlier this week, Trump sent Kushner to Iraq on an official visit, raising speculations about his role in Trump’s future plans for the Arab country.
Dems, Republicans pleased
Nevertheless, the return to a more traditional NSC was hailed by figures on both sides of the aisle.
“I'd be very pleased that he would not be on the National Security Council,” said Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain also called Bannon’s removal a good move.
Vice President Mike Pence, however, tried to downplay the decision, calling it a “very routine evolution” of Trump’s security team.
Trump’s reorganization will allow the national intelligence director, Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, to become “regular attendees” of the principals committee again.
This is the same arrangement as in the Obama administration. Trump had initially downgraded the role of Coats and Dunford and put Bannon on the committee.
The secretary of energy, the CIA director and the UN ambassador were added to the principals committee following more revisions on Wednesday.