Ex-Defense secretary: Trump's changes to security council a 'big mistake'

Ex-Defense secretary: Trump's changes to security council a 'big mistake'
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Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is concerned about President Donald Trump’s reorganization of the National Security Council (NSC).

In a memorandum over the weekend, Trump reshuffled the NSC, adding White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon as a member of its principals committee and removing the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence.

“I think pushing them out of the National Security Council meeting except when their specific issues are at stake, is a big mistake,” Gates told ABC’s “This Week.”

According to the memorandum, the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed."

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Gates served as secretary of Defense under both former presidents George W. Bush and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWhy did it take so long for Trump to drain the swamp of Pruitt? President Trump is tougher on Russia in 18 months than Obama in eight years Obama in Kenya for launch of sister’s sports center MORE.

“I think they both bring perspective and judgment and experience to bear that every president, whether they like it or not, finds useful.”

Gates said that “adding people to the National Security Council never really bothers” him, regarding the addition of Bannon.

Some lawmakers and former government officials have expressed concern over the restructuring of the NSC.

Susan Rice, formerly the national security adviser to President Barack Obama, called Trump’s reorganizing of the NSC “stone cold crazy.”

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit NY Daily News cover following Helsinki summit shows Trump shooting Uncle Sam MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday called Bannon’s place on the NSC a “radical departure from any national security council in history."