Axelrod: 'No precedent’ for Bannon’s NSC spot

Democratic strategist David Axelrod says President Trump has entered uncharted territory by appointing his adviser Steve Bannon to the National Security Council (NSC).

“Ten days in, this much is clear: Steve Bannon is playing a role in national security and foreign policy for which there is no precedent,” he said in a CNN op-ed published Monday. "And for better or worse, he already is making an impact.”

“In elevating Bannon to sit with the Secretaries of Defense and State and other key national security figures on the NSC principals committee, President Trump has blazed new ground,” added Axelrod, who served as a senior adviser to former President Obama and the chief strategist for both of his election campaigns.


“Bannon will exercise authority no political adviser has had before. He will be a full participant, not an observer, in national security deliberations.”

Axelrod additionally disputed White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s claim Monday that Axelrod and former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs frequently attended Obama’s NSC meetings.

“As a senior adviser to President Obama in 2009, I had the opportunity to witness the fateful deliberations of his National Security Council Principals committee over the strategy the U.S. would pursue in the war with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said of his and Gibbs’ participation.

“Our access also came with limits. We were barred from some of the most sensitive meetings on the Afghanistan-Pakistan policy review so as to not inhibit discussions. Beyond that, Gibbs and I did not attend regular meetings of the NSC Principals committee or their deputies nor were we invited to weekly meetings on terrorist threats.”

Trump signed an executive action last Saturday reorganizing the NSC that placed Bannon, who is Trump’s White House chief strategist and senior counselor, on the NSC.

The memorandum also removed the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, adding they would attend meetings for “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise.”

Bannon’s addition has angered both Democrats and Republicans alike on the grounds that national security decisions should be made apart from political concerns. The former Breitbart News chairman served as the CEO of Trump’s 2016 presidential bid before entering the White House.