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Report: Trump Picks Low-Key Operative as National Security Advisor Trump Picks Low-Key Operative as National Se...
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday named Robert O’Brien, his envoy for hostage affairs, to replace John Bolton as his fourth national security advisor, elevating a relatively unknown figure in a move that appears to solidify Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s role as the most influential foreign-policy figure within the administration.
With O’Brien’s scant government experience, his elevation all but ensures that Pompeo will have no major rival in the White House jockeying with him to influence Trump, according to former National Security Council officials and experts who spoke to Foreign Policy. Two and a half years into the Trump administration, Pompeo remains the sole foreign-policy advisor to have served in the administration since its beginning—first as CIA director, then as secretary of state.
Pompeo is known to be a hard-liner on most policy issues who has excelled by aligning himself closely with the president’s views. By understanding Trump’s instincts and how to speak on his behalf, Pompeo has established himself as Trump’s most influential advisor.
The untested O’Brien, whose most prominent role in government has been to serve as Trump’s chief hostage negotiator, enters the White House at a time of turbulence. Just days after Trump fired Bolton, a series of attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure roiled global markets and raised new fears of a confrontation with Iran. Nuclear talks with North Korea have stalled. And a damaging trade war with China shows no sign of ending.
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