The administration’s latest executive order gives Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, a permanent position on the National Security Council. This unprecedented move puts the former Breitbart News executive on the same level as Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor. Bannon, like many in Trump’s circle, is obviously unqualified for the position. His background as a former naval officer, investment banker, and Breitbart executive leaves much to be desired in terms of credentials.
But the reorganization of the NSC also casts Flynn’s position into doubt. According to The New York Times, Bannon is “helping to fill a staff leadership vacuum created, in part, by Mr. Flynn’s stumbling performance as national security advisor.” Further, Flynn’s “overbearing demeanor” and “penchant for talking too much” have begun to annoy the president. This is a different tune than the one that was sung right after the election, in which Flynn was considered a “powerful influence” on Trump.
This would not be the first time that Flynn has been found wanting. In 2014, Flynn was fired as chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency one year before his term was up. Flynn insisted that he was pushed out of his job for his controversial views on Islam, but those familiar with the situation attributed his firing to the chaotic mess that resulted from his attempts to overhaul the agency.
The Trump administration, via White House Press Secretary and noted gum-chewer Sean Spicer, insists that Bannon’s elevation to the NSC is welcomed by Flynn. But one can’t help but think otherwise.