Vice President Mike Pence insists White House chief strategist Steve Bannon's bump from the National Security Council wasn't a demotion — and that he's "highly valued" in the Trump administration.
In remarks released ahead of Fox News' Martha MacCallum's Wednesday night interview, the vice president was asked about the decision.
"So it's not a demotion for Steve Bannon?" MacCallum asked about the surprise shakeup earlier Wednesday.
"Well, not for Steve," Pence replied.
He added that Bannon will "continue to play important policy roles," and then praised national security adviser H.R. McMaster for his "extraordinary" military background.
"This is just a natural evolution to ensure the National Security Council is organized in a way that best serves the President in resolving and making those difficult decisions," Pence said.
President Donald Trump's decision to remove Bannon reverses a controversial early move to allow him access to the high-level meetings — and reportedly oversee then-national security adviser Michael Flynn's work to "deoperationalize" the NSC.
The Wall Street Journal reported Bannon only attended one NSC meeting during his tenure.
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