This undated photo shows Robert O'Brien at an undisclosed location. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)
US President Donald Trump said he’ll appoint Robert O’Brien to replace John Bolton as his White House national security adviser.
O’Brien is the special envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department. Trump announced his appointment to the White House in a tweet on Wednesday.
Trump fired Bolton last week after disputes over the administration’s foreign policy and Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere. He said Tuesday he was considering a list of five finalists for the job, including O’Brien.
"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 on Wednesday.
O’Brien leads the State Department’s efforts to secure the release of US hostages held by foreign governments including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Iran. Previously, he worked for Bolton when he was United Nations ambassador in the George W. Bush administration. He was also a State Department official under former Secretary Hillary Clinton.
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Trump gave Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a significant say in choosing the next national security adviser, after Pompeo and Bolton repeatedly clashed. Bolton’s departure left Pompeo unchallenged as Trump’s closest foreign policy adviser.
Pompeo had favored O’Brien and Ricky Waddell, a former national security official in the Trump administration.
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