Amid signs that Donald Trump began his presidency with the same chaotic operation that marked his campaign, a report has claimed he was not even aware he was elevating Steve Bannon to a senior security post when he signed one of several executive orders.
Since Mr Trump’s inauguration on January 20, reports have emerged of a White House West Wing marked by confusion and unpreparedness - alongside intense turf battles being fought by his top officials.
One of the results of this has been a number of leaks from the White House, about the various maneuverings of such top officials, and their varying ascendance and descent.
A report in in the New York Times, which paints a picture of chief-of-staff Reince Priebus trying to assert greater control, says he has set in place a set of checks and processes before new policies and Executive Orders are issued. This was done following the backlash over the haphazard and chaotic rollout of the order halting the refugee programme and suspending travel for people from seven Middle Eastern and North African countries.
It said Mr Trump would be looped in on the drafting of orders much earlier in the process. Remarkably, the report says, Mr Trump was not fully briefed on details of the order he signed giving his chief strategist, Mr Bannon, a seat on the National Security Council.
Mr Bannon, the former editor of Breitbart News, is a white nationalist who has pushed Mr Trump to take up such issues - both during the presidential campaign and since entering the White House.
Mr Bannon has no experience in government or in foreign policy.
As a result, many were startled when Mr Bannon was elevated to the National Security Council’s principals committee, the top interagency group for discussing national security.
The order, issued last month, also appeared to demote the director of National Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in regard to their position on the NSC.
The order said that the two officials will attend the principals committee meetings only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed”.
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