Oppose Steve Bannon’s Role on the National Security Council

Call Scripts | February 9, 2017

This unprecedented move to permanently put a right-wing political agitator with minimal national security experience in the Situation Room.

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In January, Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum giving the white nationalist and political operator Steve Bannon a full seat on the “principals committee” of the National Security Council. At the same time, Trump removed the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) as regular attendees.

This unprecedented move to permanently put a right-wing political agitator with minimal national security experience in the Situation Room, while excluding high-ranking intelligence and military officials, raises serious questions about the integrity of the National Security Council’s decision-making and places all of us at risk.

Legislation introduced in the Senate (S. 291) and the House (H.R. 804) would ensure that political operators like Steve Bannon are excluded from the National Security Council and that national security experts are the ones making life-and-death decisions about our national security.

Call your Senators/Representative today and tell them to cosponsor legislation to keep Steve Bannon out of the Situation Room and ensure that national security decisions are not influenced by political considerations.

Find your MoC's number here!

SAMPLE CALL DIALOGUE

Caller: Good morning/afternoon! I’m a constituent and I’m calling to ask what Senator/Representative Bob’s position is on Trump’s changes to the National Security Council?

Option 1: OPPOSES TRUMP’S ACTION ELEVATING STEVE BANNON TO THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

Staffer: Thank you for calling! Senator/Representative Bob opposes Steve Bannon’s elevation to the National Security Council.

Caller: That’s great! I’m calling to say that if Senator/Representative Bob truly believes, as I do, that Steve Bannon does not belong on the National Security Council, then he should take steps to make it law. Will he/she commit to cosponsoring S. 291/H.R. 804 to clarify the permanent membership of the National Security Council to better ensure that national security decisions are not clouded by political calculations?

Option 2: SUPPORTS TRUMP’S ACTION ELEVATING STEVE BANNON TO THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

Staffer: Thank you for calling! Senator/Representative Bob supports the President’s move to reorganize the permanent membership of the National Security Council.

Caller: That’s terrible. What that means is Senator/Representative Bob is choosing politics over national security. It means that Steve Bannon, rather than the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be making life-and-death decisions for millions of service members and intelligence agents around the world. Does the Senator/Representative really believe that Steve Bannon should be helping make our most consequential national security decisions over the next four years?

Staffer: As commander in chief, President Trump is entitled to choose his advisors. Other presidents have included political strategists in national security meetings. The order says the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff can continue to attend meetings that involve issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise.

Caller: That’s wrong. Bannon’s role is to ask what is best for the president’s political interests rather than what is best for our nation’s security. Neither President Obama nor President Bush gave a permanent seat to their chief strategists. What does Steve Bannon have to contribute to discussions about national security?

Option 3: DODGES / HAS NO POSITION

Staffer: Thank you for calling! I have no idea what the Senator/Representative’s position is on the changes to the National Security Council, but I’m happy to take down your concerns.

Caller: That’s disappointing to hear--this is an important issue for millions of Americans, myself included. Steve Bannon has no expertise to contribute to discussions about national security and he should not have a role on the National Security Council. His role is to ask what is best for the president’s political interests rather than what is best for our nation’s security. Does the Senator/Representative really have no position on whether Steve Bannon should be helping make our most consequential national security decisions over the next four years?

Staffer: I don’t know, but I’m happy to take down your concerns.

Caller: Here’s my concern: It’s dangerous to exclude the top intelligence and military officials from the most consequential decisions affecting national security and even more dangerous to insert a political operator such as Bannon into the process. I expect Senator/Representative Bob to represent and help protect his constituents like me when decisions are being made about our nation’s security rather than Trump’s political interests. I expect Senator/Representative Bob to do two things to prove that he is on my side:

1. Publicly oppose Bannon having permanent membership in the NSC’s “principals committee.”

2. Co-sponsor S. 291/H.R. 804 to clarify the permanent membership of the National Security Council to better ensure that national security decisions are not clouded by political calculations.

Will Senator/Representative Bob commit to cosponsoring S. 291/H.R. 804 to protect his constituents?

Staffer: I will certainly pass on your concerns to the Senator/Representative.

Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information to let me know when the Senator/Representative has made up his/her mind. I’m eager to hear what he/she decides.