- President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he would name Robert C. O’Brien as his national security adviser.
- O’Brien has served as Trump’s top hostage negotiator and recently made headlines when he was sent to Sweden to monitor the rapper A$AP Rocky’s trial.
- Trump abruptly dismissed John Bolton as his national security adviser last week, and O’Brien will take over amid a crisis with Iran.
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President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that Robert C. O’Brien, his top hostage negotiator, would be the administration’s new national security adviser.
Trump announced the news in a tweet: “I am pleased to announce that I will name Robert C. O’Brien, currently serving as the very successful Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department, as our new National Security Advisor. I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!”
I am pleased to announce that I will name Robert C. O’Brien, currently serving as the very successful Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department, as our new National Security Advisor. I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
It was an unusual assignment, given that diplomats like O’Brien typically handle hostage situations in war-torn countries. Rocky was found guilty of assault but given a suspended sentence that required no more jail time.
Bolton did not depart on happy terms with the president.
In announcing Bolton’s dismissal, Trump cited a slew of disagreements between them and others in the administration.
His ousting came several days after Trump said he’d cancelled a secret meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David. Amid the bipartisan uproar, it was reported that Bolton objected to the talks. Trump said he was halting all peace talks with the Taliban, as the war in Afghanistan rages on.
O’Brien will be Trump’s fourth national security adviser, assuming a top role in a chaotic White House typified by high rates of turnover.
The national security adviser is among the president’s most senior aides and serves as the top in-house adviser on matters of national security. The key position, also known as the assistant to the president for national security affairs, joins the vice president and Cabinet officials such as the defence secretary, the secretary of state, and the Treasury secretary as a regular attendee of the National Security Council.
In short, O’Brien will have direct and routine access to the president when it comes to national security, intelligence, and foreign policy, and will be counted on to advise Trump on an array of matters related to global affairs.
That said, Trump has exhibited a strong tendency to ignore his advisers and go with his gut.
Trump in April tweeted a quote praising himself: “President Donald J. Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator that I know of in the history of the United States.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary at the time, attributed it to O’Brien, who had said a month before that Trump had “unparalleled success” in hostage negotiations.
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