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McCollum Supports Legislation To Remove Stephen Bannon from National Security Council

January 31, 2017
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) today co-sponsored the Protect the National Security Council from Political Interference Act, which would negate President Donald Trump’s memorandum appointing Stephen Bannon, chief White House strategist and former Breitbart Executive Editor, to the National Security Council Principals Committee. The bill also urges President Trump to ensure that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence have a standing invitation to attend all National Security Council Principals Committee meetings.

“I share my constituents' fear and outrage that Stephen Bannon, an ‘alt-right’ media figure who built his career catering to anti-Semites and white supremacists has been given a seat on the National Security Council. When it comes to our national security, we need experts offering clear and informed advice, not an ‘alt-right’ political hack spewing alternative facts,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “I am co-sponsoring this legislation to ensure that Mr. Bannon is not able to impose his dangerous worldview and his scorched earth political approach on our country’s most sensitive national security decisions.”

President Trump’s appointment of Bannon overturned decades of precedent that precluded political advisors engaged in domestic politics from serving as a permanent member of the National Security Council. A bipartisan group of national security experts have raised serious concerns about Trump’s decision and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) described the appointment as a “radical departure from any National Security Council in history.”  Trump’s memorandum also removed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from the list of regular attendees at National Security Council Principals Committee meetings.

“When consequential decisions are being made, the President should hear from the top military and intelligence leaders in our government,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “President Trump cannot be allowed to bury his head in the sand and ignore the experts who are charged with keeping America safe.”

The Protect the National Security Council from Political Interference Act, introduced by Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), amends the National Security Act of 1947 to prevent the President from designating any individual whose “primary or predominant responsibility is political in nature” as a member of the National Security Council or authorizing them to regularly attend meetings of the Council or meetings of sub-groups within the Council like the Principals Committee.