When former national security adviser John Bolton recently left the White House over fundamental disagreements in policy direction with the president, it immediately became clear that Trump had every intention of naming a replacement as soon as possible.
Trump’s pick has now been publicly revealed with the announcement that Robert O’Brien, currently the presidential envoy for hostage affairs, will take over Bolton’s prior position as the president’s chief adviser on national security affairs.
O’Brien tapped for key role
The Daily Caller reported on Tuesday that President Trump had narrowed his list of potential picks to five individuals, including O’Brien, with whom he had worked previously.
The general public wasn’t given much time to consider each of the finalists for the position, however, as the president promptly made his ultimate selection known in a post to Twitter on Wednesday morning.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
Chief federal hostage negotiator
CBS News reported that O’Brien will be the president’s fourth national security adviser since he took office, following Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, and then Bolton in the role.
O’Brien has been serving in the State Department as the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs — a fairly new position first created during the Obama administration following the rise of the Islamic State group.
In that position, he has played an integral role in obtaining the release of Americans held captive in foreign lands.
Most recently O’Brien achieved the release of an American named Danny Burch who was imprisoned in Yemen, and he has been quietly working to locate and secure the freedom of Americans held captive in Iran.
O’Brien also played an important part in settling the recent arrest and prosecution of American rapper A$AP Rocky in Sweden, writing letters to the Swedish government seeking an agreeable resolution and even appearing in court in support of the jailed entertainer who was facing assault charges for defending himself against attackers on the street.
Prior international experience
Interestingly, O’Brien’s work history includes time spent as Bolton’s understudy in the George W. Bush administration, as he was the U.S. alternate representative to the United Nations while Bolton served as the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.
Hopefully, O’Brien’s outlook on foreign policy is more in line with Trump’s than that of his predecessor, and he will provide knowledgeable and timely advice on national security matters to further the president’s “America First” agenda and avoid costly and unnecessary foreign entanglements.