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Sires’ Statement Objecting to President Trump Politicizing the National Security Council

Feb 8, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires released the following statement regarding President Trump’s decision to replace the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs with Steve Bannon, White House Chief Strategist, on the National Security Council:

“President Trump’s decision to add Steve Bannon as a principal member of the National Security Council (NSC) while removing the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, both of whom have played critical roles throughout multiple Administrations, is very troubling. The NSC has never been a political platform; rather, it has always consisted of individuals with the utmost expertise in national security issues.

I have joined my colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump expressing our deep concern about the changes he has made to the National Security Council. I have also signed onto H.R. 804, introduced by Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), legislation barring the president from appointing aides who primarily serve a political role as a principal member of the NSC.

The NSC provides presidents with their daily briefings, and represents the highest levels of our military and intelligence communities. It is their analysis and expertise that guide the critical decisions about how, when, and where U.S. military capabilities are deployed.  By removing principal members from leadership roles and giving Steve Bannon unfettered access to these meetings, President Trump is sending a message to our allies and our foes that these critical decisions are no longer being made by the facts on the ground but being weighed against scoring political points.  Decisions regarding the deployment and safety of our soldiers should only be decided on merit and fact.

As I have stated in the past, in addition to this alarming change to our security apparatus, I am also concerned about Steve Bannon’s past comments regarding minorities and people of all faiths. Having him on the NSC gives him a megaphone from where he can project his hateful ideologies and continue his efforts to divide our country.”