White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly resisted the shake-up of the National Security Council’s hierarchy that led to his removal.
According to a New York Times report published Wednesday, Bannon at one point threatened to quit if the change was executed.
The report comes at a time when Bannon had been notably absent from meetings, The Times’ Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush wrote, and doubts simmered among some of President Donald Trump’s closest advisers after the administration stumbled in its early weeks.
Trump rattled the US intelligence community when he enacted an order that placed Bannon on the NSC’s principals committee, the main policy-making group in matters mainly relating to national security. In doing so, other officials like the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence — who traditionally would hold a seat — were demoted.
Trump was reportedly irate over the reception of his first executive order that overhauled the NSC, saying that he was not properly briefed about its drastic implications, The Times said. However, according to a source, after considering to reverse his order the very week it was announced, he decided not to, due to fears of a greater fallout.
The group is now led by National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who orchestrated the administrative shuffle that removed Bannon from the picture.
Bannon insisted earlier Wednesday that his exit from the committee was planned, calling it a “natural evolution,” and not a reduction of his stature inside the White House, The Times reported.
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