Published: Wed, September 18, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump Names Hostage Envoy Robert O’Brien as National Security Adviser

Trump Names Hostage Envoy Robert O’Brien as National Security Adviser

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

O'Brien, who will be the fourth person to hold the post in the Trump administration, has served as Trump's special envoy for hostage affairs at the U.S. Department of State since May 2018 and has a long history in Republican foreign policy circles.

It's unclear what Trump meant when he said he's worked "long and hard" with O'Brien. "He will do a great job!", he added.

Under former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, Mr O'Brien also served as co-chair of the state department's Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan. Previously, he worked for Bolton when Bolton was United Nations ambassador in the George W. Bush administration. At one point, he urged Cruz (R-Tex.) to draw a contrast on national security with Trump, who "who has been playing up how chummy he will be with Vladimir Putin if he is elected". The position does not require confirmation by Congress. O' Brien, who made headlines in July when he was dispatched to Sweden to monitor the assault trial of American rapper A$AP Rocky, was among five candidates Trump said Tuesday were under consideration.

Trump said last week that he had asked Bolton to resign, citing strong differences of opinion with his hawkish assistant in the latest shake-up of an already turbulent White House. O'Brien, considered by Trump for Navy secretary in 2017, supports the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other alliances, Lucken said. Given Trump's promise on Wednesday to "substantially increase" sanctions on Tehran, O'Brien's hiring likely signals no thaw in relations with the Islamic Republic. Earlier in his career, O' Brien was a senior legal officer for the UN Security Council commission that decided claims against Iraq that arose from the Gulf War. He was a major in the U.S. Army Reserve.

In a 2016 book on the United States' role in the world entitled While America Slept, O'Brien is very critical of former US President Barack Obama's foreign policy.

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