Trump names hostage negotiator O’Brien nat’l security advisor

20 September, 2019 12:00 AM printer

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday named his pointman for hostage situations, Robert O’Brien, to replace his hawkish national security advisor sacked just as relations with Iran are entering a new crisis point, reports AFP. 

Trump made the announcement by Twitter and later appeared with O’Brien in front of reporters while traveling in California, where he said his new foreign policy aide was “highly respected.”

Last week, Trump abruptly fired John Bolton, a vigorous proponent of using US military force abroad and one of the main hawks in the administration on Iran.

O’Brien, 53, has until now served as Trump’s envoy for situations involving US hostages abroad.

He comes into the new job with backing from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior Republicans in Congress.

Bolton, by contrast, was a highly controversial figure in Washington. His instincts for an aggressive, interventionist foreign policy were at odds with Trump’s more isolationist stance.

Bolton “wasn’t getting along with people in the administration who I consider very important” and “wasn’t in line with what we were doing,” Trump said.

O’Brien, who will become the fourth national security advisor in Trump’s tumultuous first term, does not appear to have that problem.

“I think we have a very good chemistry together,” Trump said.

He arrives just as Trump is coming under pressure from some in Washington to go to war with Iran in retaliation for an attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia last weekend that has been blamed on Tehran.