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 TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada 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 ObamaFord taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not 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 McCainArizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Another recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday called Bannon’s place on the NSC a “radical departure from any national security council in history."