WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump said he would appoint his special envoy for hostage affairs, Robert O’Brien, to serve as national security adviser following John Bolton’s abrupt departure from the post, reported Sputnik news agency.
Bolton was ousted last week, following a tenure characterized by his opposition to Trump efforts to negotiate with North Korea and later with Iran and for crafting an unsuccessful effort to force Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from office.
“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 said via Twitter on Wednesday.
O’Brien is being elevated from his present position as the administration’s top hostage negotiator, having won praise from Trump for winning freedom for Americans detained in other countries such as North Korea and Turkey.
He previously served in multiple positions in the George W Bush administration, including alternate US representative at the United Nations, and later founded a private law firm in Los Angeles California.
In 2017, Trump considered nominating O’Brien as Secretary of the Navy.
Although O’Brien has had a low-key profile and is considered more diplomatic than Bolton, he has espoused hawkish and anti-Russian views. Not to mention, he used to work for Bolton.
O’Brien authored the 2016 book, “While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis.” In the book, O’Brien compared the Iranian nuclear agreement to the Munich Agreement that emboldened Adolf Hitler in 1938, according to the New York Times.
However, some of Trump’s fellow Republicans applauded the decision.
US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr in a statement after the announcement said O’Brien’s experience at the State Department and work with the White House will serve him well in his new critical role.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who has sparred with Trump over US policy towards Iran in recent days, also applauded the president’s move.
“Mr. O’Brien is a great choice – he understands the world for the dangerous place it is. He’s got great negotiating skills as our hostage negotiator. I think he will be a very sound policy advisor to the President of the United States,” Graham said in a statement on Wednesday.