New national security adviser faces personality test with Trump's inner circle

Clay Curtis
September 21, 2019

President Donald Trump says he plans to name hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien to be his new national security adviser.

Trump announced that he has selected State Department hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien in Los Angeles, "which explains why the guy looks like the second male lead on Suits", Colbert said.

Trump abruptly ousted Bolton last week following a tenure marked by major policy splits with Trump, a fact the president pointed to in stark terms in the aftermath of the ouster.

"Robert's a very experienced foreign policy figure with deep knowledge of United Nations, worldwide organizations", said Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, and who worked alongside Mr. O'Brien on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid.

Trump trusts O'Brien, and the two clicked when they spoke, according to a senior administration official.

"As the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, [O'Brien] has doggedly pursued the release of American hostages overseas", Romney tweeted.

Bolton also helped to stall a US exit from Syria.

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The White House sent O'Brien to Sweden to monitor the case of A$AP Rocky, who was charged with assault. Shortly after Trump's win in November 2016, in an interview with Larry King, O'Brien endorsed Mitt Romney for secretary of state. Let's put all Americans first, not just famous ones. In December 2018, Trump announced that the US would be withdrawing military forces from the country, only to have Bolton condition that withdrawal on a Turkish agreement to not attack Kurdish forces in Syria.

O'Brien has had a long involvement in worldwide matters, Lucken said, including work on the State Department's Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan.

From 2008 through 2011, O'Brien was a presidentially appointed member of a government committee that advises on issues related to the trafficking of antiquities and other cultural items. Previously, he worked for Bolton when Bolton was United Nations ambassador in the George W. Bush administration. O'Brien was confirmed by the Senate.

"It is important for the national security adviser to strike a balance between being assertive - having a strong point of view and at times challenging the president's assumptions - while also being able to work well across a number of significant departments and agencies", Coons said. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Like Pompeo, O'Brien kept his distance from then-candidate Trump during his unruly rise through the Republican ranks.

Jon Huntsman is the brother of Paul Huntsman, owner and publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune.

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