House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Thursday it was “stunning” that President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who she described as a “white supremacist,” now has a permanent seat on the National Security Council.
Pelosi condemned Trump’s executive order temporarily barring visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, saying that it is “making America less safe.”
She also decried steps Trump took apparently to restructure the National Security Council.
“What’s making America less safe is to have a white supremacist named to the National Security Council as a permanent member, while the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the director of National Intelligence are told, don’t call us, we’ll call you,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference.
She went on to name Bannon specifically.
“It’s a stunning thing that a white supremacist, Bannon, would be a permanent member of the National Security Council and dismissing the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the director of National Intelligence as permanent members,” Pelosi said.
Trump took steps Saturday to apparently restructure the NSC, adding Bannon to the principals committee and specifying that his director of National Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would attend council meetings specifically “where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.”
While Bannon served in the Navy, he has no national security experience.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the decision on Monday, and labeled reporting that the roles of the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and director of National Intelligence have been diminished at the NSC as “utter nonsense.”
He also noted that Trump plans to add the CIA back to the council.
Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist in the West Wing and the former chairman of Breitbart News, bragged in an August interview with Mother Jones that he turned the site into a “platform for the alt-right,” the so-called white nationalist and anti-immigrant movement that gained prominence online as a response to mainstream conservatism.