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Stephen Bannon


President Donald Trump has decided to reshuffle the National Security Council (NSC), downgrading the military chiefs of staff and giving a regular seat to his chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

Steve Bannon, formerly the head of the populist right-wing Breitbart News website, will join high-level discussions about national security.

The order was signed on January 28.

The director of national intelligence and the joint chiefs will attend when discussions pertain to their areas.

Under previous administrations, the director and joint chiefs attended all meetings of the NSC’s inner circle, the principals’ committee.

Image source Wikimedia

The NSC is the main group advising the president on national security and foreign affairs.

The group is led by retired lieutenant-general Mike Flynn, who was one of Donald Trump’s closest advisers and most ardent supporters during the campaign.

Donald Trump’s executive order said: “The security threats facing the United States in the 21st century transcend international boundaries.

“Accordingly, the United States Government’s decision-making structures and processes to address these challenges must remain equally adaptive and transformative.”

Last week, Steve Bannon described the US mainstream media as “the opposition party”, saying it should “keep its mouth shut”.

Breitbart News, the site Steve Bannon once managed, serves up an anti-establishment agenda that critics accuse of xenophobia and misogyny. Under Steve Bannon, Breitbart News became one of the most-read conservative news and opinion sites in the US.

PresidentTrump also ordered a restructuring of the Homeland Security Council.

Donald Trump’s new chief of staff, Reince Priebus, has defended the choice of right-wing media man Stephen Bannon as chief strategist, calling him a “force for good”.

A number of critics have denounced Stephen Bannon as supporting white supremacism.

Reince Priebus said this was “not the Steve Bannon that I know”, adding he was a “very, very smart person”.

His appointment is seen as an attempt by Donald Trump to improve links to the Republican establishment.

Donald Trump himself said he fought the election as the “ultimate outsider”, and it would fall to Reince Priebus, the current chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), to act as a conduit both to the party and to Congress.Donald Trump hails Brexit referendum result

One of Reince Priebus’ first tasks was to defend the appointment of Stephen Bannon, who had stepped aside from his role as chief executive of the Breitbart News Network – a combative conservative site with an anti-establishment agenda – to act as Donald Trump’s election campaign chief.

Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, said of Stephen Bannon: “It is easy to see why the KKK views Trump as their champion when Trump appoints one of the foremost peddlers of White Supremacist themes and rhetoric as his top aide.”

Jonathan Greenblat, of the Anti-Defamation League civil rights group, said: “It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the <<alt-right>> – a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists – is slated to be a senior staff member in the <<people’s house>>.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center group said: “Stephen Bannon was the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill… Bannon should go.”

However, Reince Priebus told Good Morning America: “I don’t know where they’re coming from… that’s not the Steve Bannon that I know.”

On November 13, Stephen Bannon on thanked Donald Trump for his appointment, saying: “We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda.”

In a statement released by his campaign, Donald Trump described Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon as “highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory”.

Donald Trump has made his first picks for his incoming team.

The president-elect has named Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), as his chief of staff.

In this role, Reince Priebus, 44, will set the tone for the new White House and act as a conduit to Congress and the government.

Stephen Bannon, from the Breitbart News Network, will serve as Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

The 62-year-old stepped aside as executive chairman of Breitbart – a combative conservative site with an anti-establishment agenda that critics accuse of xenophobia and misogyny – to act as Donald Trump’s campaign chief.

In a statement released by his campaign, Donald Trump described Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon as “highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory”.

Image source Flickr

Image source Flickr

Reince Priebus acted as a bridge between Donald Trump and the Republican party establishment during the campaign.

He is close to House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite, who could be instrumental in steering the new administration’s legislative agenda.

During the election race, Stephen Bannon saw it as his aim to “bolster the business-like approach of Mr. Trump’s campaign”.

A former naval officer, investment banker and Hollywood producer, Stephen Bannon took over at Breitbart in 2012, when he promised to make it the “Huffington Post of the right”.

Breitbart is linked to the alternative right movement – or alt-right – which tends to reject both left-wing ideology and mainstream conservatism.

The movement often emphasizes free speech and the right to offend. Opponents call it racist, anti-Semitic and sexist.

Stephen Bannon said on November 13: “I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to work with Reince in driving the agenda of the Trump administration.

“We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda.”

Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff called Stephen Bannon’s appointment “unsurprising but alarming”.

Adam Schiff tweeted: “His alt-right, anti-Semitic & misogynistic views don’t belong in WH.”

Elected chairman of the RNC in 2011, Reince Priebus has acted as the party’s spokesman and chief fundraiser. He said it was “truly an honor” to join Donald Trump in the White House as chief of staff.

“I am very grateful to the president-elect for this opportunity to serve him and this nation as we work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace ObamaCare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism,” he added.

Correspondents say one of the big challenges of the new administration will be reconciling Donald Trump with the mainstream GOP, where sharp divisions emerged during the primaries.

Both houses of Congress are under Republican control.

Donald Trump will take over at the White House on January 20, when President Barack Obama steps down after two terms in office. He defeated Hillary Clinton in last week’s presidential vote.

On November 13, Donald Trump spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two agreed to meet at “an early date”, Chinese state media said.

Donald Trump has overhauled his election campaign team for the second time in two months, bringing in a new manager and CEO.

Kellyanne Conway becomes campaign manager and Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News the CEO. Paul Manafort remains as campaign chairman.

Donald Trump told AP the new leaders were “terrific people… they’re champs”.

The Republican presidential candidate has seen his poll ratings slip since the GOP conventions last month.

Donald Trump trails rival Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton both nationally and in key battleground states.

The latest shake-up comes just 82 days before the election.

Speaking to Associated Press news agency about Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of the politically conservative news and opinion website Breitbart, and pollster Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump said: “I’ve known both of them for a long time. They’re terrific people, they’re winners, they’re champs, and we need to win it.”

AP said the details of the new hierarchy were hammered out at a lengthy senior staff meeting at Trump Tower on August 16 and that more senior appointments were expected in the coming days.

Photo AP

Photo AP

An article in Bloomberg in October 2015, described Stephen Bannon as “the most dangerous political operative in America”.

Stephen Bannon says his role at Breitbart is “virulently anti-establishment”.

Kellyanne Conway has previously worked for Republican politicians Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich.

Although Paul Manafort stays in his job, analysts say the new appointments, which come two months after campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was sacked, represent a demotion.

The Washington Post cited Donald Trump campaign aides as saying the Republican candidate respected Paul Manafort but felt “boxed in” by people “who barely knew him”.

Paul Manafort, a former adviser to George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole, only joined the Trump campaign in March.

Donald Trump has been pressed by some Republicans to tone down his fiery rhetoric in the wake of a number of controversial comments in the past two weeks and the subsequent drop in poll ratings.

However, Donald Trump appears to want to stand by the campaign style that won him the Republican nomination.

He said on August 16: “You know, I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change.

“Everyone talks about, <<Oh, well you’re going to pivot, you’re going to>>. I don’t want to pivot. I mean, you have to be you. If you start pivoting, you’re not being honest with people.”

Paul Manafort has had a troubled week, following a report in the New York Times that ledgers in Ukraine showed he was earmarked for $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from the former pro-Russian government between 2007 and 2012. He denied receiving any “off-the-books cash payment”.

The Trump team’s alleged pro-Russia links have been a key issue of the campaign, and the latest allegations sparked a call from the Clinton campaign for a full disclosure.

Opinion polls since the national conventions have made grim reading for the Trump team, both nationally and in key states.

The national lead for Hillary Clinton is currently between seven and eight points, the polls suggest.

The New York Times said on August 15 that no modern candidate trailing by this much three weeks after the conventions had won the election.

An opinion poll in the state of Virginia, carried in the Washington Post on August 16, gave Hillary Clinton a 14 point lead there.