Of all the appointments President Donald J. Trump has made to his Cabinet and White House administration, it is the rise of Stephen Bannon, formerly executive chair of the far right Breitbart «news» website, now President Trump's Chief Political Strategist, which is the most concerning and disturbing.
Bannon was born into a working-class Irish Catholic immigrant family who were Democrats and resided in Virginia. For someone who holds the views of the far, alternative right, he has surprisingly strong academic credentials with degrees from Georgetown University and Harvard University. Clearly, his time at some of America's finest institutes of academic learning did not lead to an intellectual enlightenment and sophistication of thought.
After serving in the US Navy, Bannon went on to work for the criminal racket known euphemistically as Goldman Sachs, the very same Goldman Sachs which President Trump railed against during the election campaign and attacked Hillary Clinton for making paid speeches to. Having made his fortune in one of the Devil's Temples he then went from «investment banking» into Hollywood film production and «documentary» making serving as executive producer on such films as the big screen adaption of one of Shakespeare's darkest plays: «Titus Andronicus» as well as making politically conservative documentaries about Ronald Reagan entitled: «In The Face of Evil» as well as other flamboyantly titled projects such as: «Fire from the Heartland, The Awakening of the Conservative Woman», and a tribute to ultimate wack job par excellence Sarah Palin called «The Undefeated».
From Hollywood he then launched himself with gusto into founding Breitbart news, described as a platform for the «Alternative Right». Time magazine has described Breitbart news as being a mouthpiece for publishing: «racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic material». Bannon and Breitbart have gone to great lengths to transform the traditional, mainstream conservative movement in America into one resembling the European neo-Nazi far right. Bannon praised Marine Le Pen as a «new rising star». In a most bizarre interview conducted shortly after his appointment as Trump's White House Chief Strategist Bannon saved the media the trouble of drawing comparisons with the devil by explicitly invoking Satan declaring: «Darkness is good: Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they're blind to who we are and what we're doing». From reading over this any politically rational person (and they are in short supply these days) would conclude Bannon was in need of a long period of therapy. Yet this is not only the man Trump put in charge of his Presidential campaign but also has now given huge power in the inner circle of White House influence and decision making.
In a highly unusual and disturbing move, President Trump not only appointed Bannon a permanent member of the United States National Security Council but also a member of its Principals Committee while downgrading the membership of the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, two extremely senior National Security positions who will now only be allowed to attend when issues arising from their briefs are pertinent to discussions of the Council. Given the key strategic roles of the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs it is hard to see when issues pertaining to their briefs would not arise. A most ridiculous rationale for eroding their attendance. This is an unprecedented development with regards to US National Security making. Political advisors have never been fully-fledged members of the National Security Council. Some may have been allowed to sit in on certain meetings at the request of the President such as David Axelrod under President Obama but never has a Presidential political strategist been granted membership of the NSC let alone elevated to its top tier of the Principals Committee. The National Security Council exists as the principal forum and decision-making body for the consideration of the President of the United States of national security and foreign policy matters. Its membership includes the likes of the Secretary of State, Defense Secretary and National Security Advisor.
By appointing Bannon to the National Security Council there is a great concern that the NSC will become a highly politicized body more interested in shaping US foreign and defense policy along ideological lines rather than the non-partisan, non-ideological National and International Interest.
Indeed, it would seem Bannon is steadily emerging as the most powerful player in the Trump administration alongside President Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who was appointed by his father-in-law as a Senior Advisor to the President. His hands can be detected all over the appalling Muslim Travel Ban «Executive Order». Given his crazy and nasty far-right views on domestic policy and politics, one can only hold one’s breath and hope that his warped mind will not infect the national security policy of the United States too much.