Since President Donald Trump named Steve Bannon, his chief strategist, to the National Security Council's principals committee, the left has erupted in all kinds of moral outrage.
As with nearly every action taken by President Trump during his first days in office, the mainstream media has rushed headlong into criticism and shrill hysteria. Rational thought seems to have fallen by the wayside.
If they had paused to give the move some consideration, the media might have realized that the president’s move is not actually that surprising, nor should it be misconstrued as some sort of crazy scandal. It’s nothing of the sort.
Adding a political advisor to the National Security Council is a serious issue, and it warrants a measured and serious evaluation and discussion – not wild accusations and denunciations based solely on partisan ill will.
The National Security Council is a group composed of top officials in the Administration. This body, the principal forum through which the president discusses and analyzes foreign policy matters, is charged with the serious responsibility of providing the most powerful man in the world with strategic national security recommendations.
Steve Bannon has the president’s trust, and we voted to give the president ours. They both deserve to be given a chance.
A proven and trusted counselor to the president, Bannon has an incredibly high intellect. It makes sense that such a principal advisor should have a seat and participate in the meetings.
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Bannon will not be running the meetings, he will not be driving the agenda and he will not be given leeway to lead the group as he sees fit. He’s simply going to be in the room.
In all of my interactions with Bannon, I have found him to be a very thoughtful and capable individual. His perspective will be a valuable addition to these meetings.
National security decisions should take into account a variety of different outlooks, and part of the goal of the National Security Council is to ensure that the views of various government agencies are considered. Why shouldn’t Bannon’s voice be heard?
Of course, there is a degree of caution that needs to be exercised. It is true that there are legitimate questions raised. Some are worried that having the chief strategist participate in these meetings could add a political element to a discussion that should operate outside of electoral concerns.
To quiet these qualms, Bannon will have to show that these worries are baseless. He will need to act cautiously and deliberately, and be careful about giving ammunition to his detractors by inserting anything resembling politics into decisions that ultimately concern only the safety and security of the American people.
I am certain that Steve Bannon will make valuable contributions to the discussions of the National Security Council. Similarly, there is no doubt in my mind that he will fulfill his responsibility to his country by advocating for positions that reflect not only the best interests of the president, but of the entire American people – the people that the President has been elected to serve.
Those in the media that are so zealously reporting on this should take a step back and clear their heads of all the bias that has been ingrained over this contentious election cycle. A chief strategist will be taking part in strategic discussions that result in strategic decisions. This makes perfect sense.
Perhaps it was the spread of disinformation that got everyone all riled up. It was reported that, in addition Bannon’s inclusion on the council, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would be disinvited. In fact, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs will be welcome at all meetings. This was a blatant falsehood with no basis in reality.
Much of the indignation surrounding President Trump’s announcement has focused upon the fact that naming Bannon to the National Security Council was unprecedented. Maybe the media should have been paying more attention. Everything about President Trump and his election is unprecedented. Americans voted for change, and that is what they are getting. There can be no worse reason to keep doing something one way simply because it has always been done in that manner.
President Trump has already shown that he is not beholden to outdated traditions kept by a broken political system. He does not feel obligated to play by Washington’s antiquated rules. It’s time for something different – and maybe that something is a shake-up of the National Security Council.