Thursday, 14 November, 2019

Trump names hostage negotiator as national security adviser

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Travis Berry | 19 September, 2019, 00:24

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

Trump had said Bolton had been a "disaster" on North Korea policy, "out of line" on Venezuela, and did not get along with important administration officials.

O'Brien, who now serves as the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department, has a long history in Republican foreign policy circles. "He will do a great job!" the president tweeted from his fundraising trip in California.

"Trump, after enduring the Bolton experience, clearly has no use for a strong personality or ideologue in the National Security Adviser position".

O'Brien previously co-chaired the State Department's justice reform initiative in Afghanistan, as well as advised the government on the trafficking of antiquities, according to his biography.

Earlier this year, Mr Trump sent him to Sweden to monitor the assault court case of American rapper A$AP Rocky, in which the president took a personal interest.

"O'Brien joined the administration in May 2018 and serves as the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department".

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O'Brien has helped free US hostages including Danny Burch, an engineer at an oil company who was taken hostage by a criminal gang in Yemen.

"The president has had unparalleled success in bringing Americans home without paying concessions, without prisoner exchanges, but through force of will and the goodwill that he's generated around the world", O'Brien said at the time. In 2005, Bush nominated O'Brien to be U.S. Representative to the United Nations General Assembly, where he worked with Bolton.

The position of national security adviser doesn't require Senate confirmation.

In his 2016 book, While America Slept, O'Brien detailed what he saw as some of the failures of US foreign policy in recent years, particularly under the Obama administration.

O'Brien replaces John Bolton, the hawkish interventionist sacked last week.

He also was an adviser on the Republican presidential campaigns of former Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, former Governor Mitt Romney of MA and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. He was a major in the U.S. Army Reserve.

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