House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has hit out at Steve Bannon's presence on the National Security Council (NSC), calling him a "white supremacist".
Bannon, a former executive of alt-right news website Breitbart, acted as the chief executive officer of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and is currently his chief strategist. His proximity to the president has alarmed some politicians.
California Democrat Pelosi has made no secret of her concerns over Bannon's inclusion in the National Security Council (NSC), outlined by Trump last week, telling reporters today in comments carried by The Hill: "It's a stunning thing that a white supremacist, Bannon, would be a permanent member of the National Security Council."
"What's making America less safe is to have a white supremacist named to the National Security Council as a permanent member while the chairman of the joint chiefs and the director of national intelligence are told, 'Don't call us, we'll call you. You're no longer permanent members'," she added in comments that leave no doubt over her views on Bannon.
Trump also changed the NSC so that two of the senior most defence chiefs, the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, will attend meetings only when the discussions pertain to their "responsibilities and expertise". In the Bush and Obama administrations, both were included in the meetings regularly, according to reports.
Bannon's inclusion on the NSC also prompted house Democrats to write to Trump asking him to reconsider Bannon's place on the panel – although the president has not yet showed any signs he is willing to loosen his chief strategist's involvement in the administration.