Steve Bannon reportedly threatened to leave Trump administration if removed from National Security Council

White House senior strategist Steve Bannon reportedly threatened to quit if he was removed as a member of the National Security Council's principals committee this week, a threat he apparently did not follow through on as his influence at the White House seems to be on the wane.

According to a New York Times report, Bannon was elbowed out of the council Wednesday on the insistence of Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser who joined the administration after Michael Flynn resigned.

An administration official told the Times that McMaster objected to having a political adviser sitting in on the most important national security decisions. Bannon, the official said, threatened to leave the White House altogether if he was removed, a characterization of events Bannon's allies have denied. Bannon himself has called it a "total lie" and "total nonsense."

Reactions to Bannon's removal from National Security Council

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Reactions to Bannon's removal from National Security Council
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Reactions to Bannon's removal from National Security Council
Bannon should never have been on the National Security Council, he should be removed from the White House next. https://t.co/utZJXD9Wz4
White nationalists don’t belong on the National Security Council. They also don’t belong in the White House.… https://t.co/IacBhGYvCp
BREAKING NEWS! After swell of support for my bill to kick Steve Bannon off the NSC, he has been removed from NSC! #DepoliticizeTheNSC #FL07
Positive sign in terms of NSC process to extent it's relevant. One might note Kushner is not on NSC, yet appears to… https://t.co/rmpv5Zl1iM
I'm no management expert, but WH putting Bannon on NSC solely out of fear WH's chosen NSA might do something crazy seems an odd explanation
WOW! Steve Bannon tossed from National Security Council! After watching yesterday's new ads, Trump is replacing him with a can of Pepsi.
In war for WH, GOP, Pence & Priebus were always going to win - it was just a matter of when, not if. Bannon move proof.
Sen Cardin on Bannon being off the NSC: "If that is true..I'd be very pleased...my hope is that he has no role in government at all."
BREAKING: Steve Bannon is off the NSC! If I'm a betting woman, w the world in chaos, I'd bet McMaster finally told Trump my way or I'm gone!
BREAKING: Steve Bannon off the National Security Council. Good move. He should never have been on it. 👍
Good news that white nationalist Steve Bannon is off NSC Principals Committee. Would be even better news if here were out of WH altogether.
guess you could say they’ll be bannon him from future meetings, yes, this is a cry for help https://t.co/z6D1xjjSGv
Senior WH official says Bannon's mission on the NSC was to keep an eye on Flynn as he "de-operationalized" the NSC from Rice. "Mission Done"
We haven't heard much at all about H. R. McMaster recently, but he has respect across the board, and this is likely his doing. #Bannon
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Bannon faces a loss in stature in the White House as the early days of President Donald Trump's administration have been marked by political crisis and failure to advance Trump's agenda. Bannon's removal from the committee was widely viewed as an indication he was being pushed out of the president's inner circle, increasingly replaced by first daughter Ivanka Trump, who now has an official titleand a West Wing office, and her husband, Jared Kushner, with his ever-expanding portfolio.

Rather than an indication of his diminished power, sources close to Bannon told the Times, his departure from the council was a "natural evolution."

SEE ALSO: Bannon wants Trump to keep 's*** list' of health care 'no' votes

They said he had only been put on the council to keep an eye on Flynn, who resigned following the revelations he discussed lifting sanctions against Moscow with the Russian ambassador, then mischaracterized his conversations to Vice President Mike Pence. Now that Flynn is gone, they said, Bannon no longer needed be on the council, although he has kept his security clearance.

"Susan Rice operationalized the N.S.C. during the last administration," Bannon said in a statement, referring to President Barack Obama's national security adviser. "I was put on the N.S.C. with General Flynn to ensure that it was de-operationalized. General McMaster has returned the N.S.C. to its proper function."

RELATED: Members of Trump's senior administration

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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions
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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Energy secretary: Rick Perry

(Photo credit KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

 REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief strategist: Steve Bannon

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

(Photo by Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)

White House counsel: Donald McGahn

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
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By law, the principals committee includes the president, vice president and secretaries of state, defense, energy and "the Secretaries and Under Secretaries of other executive departments and of the military departments, when appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at his pleasure."

Trump's initial decision to reorganize the committee to include Bannon was met with intense backlash in line with the broader objections to Bannon's role as a close adviser to the president stemming from his background as the former executive director of Breitbart News, an outlet he once described as a "platform of the alt-right."

His removal was celebrated by those who hope it portends a move to a more professional national security team, as replacing Flynn with McMaster had been.

It "is a positive step by Gen. McMaster to gain control over a body that was being politicized by Bannon's involvement," said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said in a statement. "Lacking a strong background in national security and with a long history of peddling racist and inflammatory conspiracy theories, Bannon should have never been placed on the principals committee to begin with, let alone given any role in the White House."

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