As chaos and confusion erupted after Donald Trump’s sweeping crackdown on immigration, one thing became abundantly clear: Stephen Bannon is the man pulling the strings in the Trump White House.
Since the inauguration, Bannon, Trump’s fiery chief strategist and the former chairman of Breitbart News, has had an outsized role in shaping policy in the new administration, particularly when it comes to immigration.
It was Bannon who wrote Trump’s sweeping executive order on Friday that stopped all Syrian refugees from entering the United States and temporarily banned immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries. The hastily enacted order caused chaos at airports as immigrants were pulled off planes and protests erupted around the country. CNN reported that Bannon and another White House adviser overruled Department of Homeland Security officials who recommended that green card holders be exempt from the order. The White House later softened that position.
Amid the fallout of the executive order, Trump elevated Bannon to a full seat on the National Security Council, an unprecedented move that gives him “a status alongside the secretaries of state and defense, and over the president’s top military and intelligence advisers,” according to The New York Times. On Twitter, Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, called the arrangement “stone cold crazy.”