Steve Bannon: the de facto president?

"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".

Sen. John McCain, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, stated: "I am anxious about the National Security Council".

A comparison of Trump's order with documents from the Bush and Obama administrations, however, shows that is not entirely accurate.

Further efforts by President Donald Trump to reorganize the National Security Council continues to generate criticism after Trump removed the country's most senior intelligence and military officials as regular members of the Principals Committee and installed a top political adviser on the committee.

As for Bannon's elevation, Spicer also downplayed its significance and noted that former Obama adviser David Axelrod had attended NSC meetings as well, though had not been given a formal promotion to the role.

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Bannon left his position as executive chairman of Breitbart News in August of a year ago to run Trump's campaign for president, replacing the real-estate mogul and reality TV star's previous chief strategist, Paul Manafort.

Republican John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday he was concerned that adding Bannon to the council while leaving out Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was a "radical departure". "We recognize that certain homeland security issues may not be military issues, and it would not be in the best interest of the Joint Chiefs' valuable time to be at these meetings".

But Trump's directive gives an unprecedented NSC role to a political advisor, Steve Bannon, who headed Breitbart News, a website and voice for the alt-right movement, a loose confederation that includes hardcore nationalists, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and anti-Semites.

The decision is raising questions in national security circles. Trump's directive says they will attend meetings of the Principals Committee "where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed". "I think pushing them out of the National Security Council meetings, except when their specific issues are at stake, is a big mistake", he said.

"Who needs military advice or (intelligence) to make policy on ISIL, Syria, Afghanistan, DPRK?" she chided.

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