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 TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE’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."


Gates served as secretary of Defense under both former presidents George W. Bush and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama: Republican Party members believe 'white males are victims' Texas warehouse where migrants housed in 'cages' closed for humane renovation North Carolina — still purple but up for grabs 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 McCainJuan Williams: Obama's dire warnings about right-wing media Democrats' squabbling vindicates Biden non-campaign McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday called Bannon’s place on the NSC a “radical departure from any national security council in history."