President Trump was reportedly not fully briefed on the executive order he signed that allowed his chief strategist Steve Bannon a seat at the meetings of the country’s top national security efforts.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Bannon has been telling allies that he and the White House policy director, Stephen Miller, have a window to push through their vision of Trump’s economic policies.
Trump was frustrated over the executive order and reportedly demanded to be looped in on the executive orders earlier in the drafting process. According to the Times, Trump demanded that his chief of staff Reince Priebus to come up with a fundamental approach to executive orders.
Priebus told Trump and Bannon that the administration needs to revamp its policy and communications after the recent leaks about the orders coming out. Priebus created a 10-point checklist for the release of any new initiatives that needs a signoff from the White House communications department, The Times reported.
Trump restructured the White House National Security Council at the end of January, adding Bannon to the principals committee, which includes the secretaries of state and defense. At the same time, Trump said his director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would attend "where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed."
Bannon served in the Navy before attending Harvard Business School, working at Goldman Sachs, starting his own media-focused boutique investment banking firm and later heading the ultraconservative outlet Breitbart News, which has been accused of featuring racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content.
"He is a former naval officer. He's got a tremendous understanding of the world and the geopolitical landscape that we have now," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told ABC's "This Week" last month.
Spicer said "having the chief strategist for the president in those meetings who has a significant military background to help make -- guide what the president's final analysis is going to be is crucial."
But to Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, the NSC "sadly has some really questionable people on it," he told NBC's "Meet the Press," citing Bannon among them.
And Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called Bannon's appointment "a radical departure from any National Security Council in history."
He had told "Face the Nation" on CBS: "The role of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been diminished, I understand, with this reorganization. One person who is indispensable would be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in my view. So, it's of concern, this `reorganization."'
The Associated Press contributed to this report.