Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview Wednesday that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is a “very highly valued” staffer whose removal from the National Security Council was not a demotion.
“So it’s not a demotion for Steve Bannon?” Fox News’ Martha MacCallum asked Pence.
“Well, not for Steve,” Pence said.
He called Bannon a “very highly valued” member of President Donald Trump’s administration, and said that Bannon will “continue to play important policy roles.” Pence also praised National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster for his “extraordinary” military background.
“This is just a natural evolution to ensure the National Security Council is organized in a way that best serves the President in resolving and making those difficult decisions,” he said.
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Bannon was removed from his position on the council on Wednesday.
The emerging White House line on Bannon’s removal was that he was appointed to the council’s principals committee in January to keep an eye on former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, and no longer needed to remain in that role after Flynn’s ouster.
An unnamed administration official told the Wall Street Journal, however, that Bannon only attended one NSC meeting during his four-month tenure.