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Trump's pick for national security adviser didn't want the job

Robert C. O’Brien told Larry King in December 2016 that he would not want the job of national security adviser.

By Oliver Willis - September 18, 2019
Robert C. O'Brien

On Wednesday, Trump announced that he will name Robert C. O’Brien to be his new national security adviser, after forcing out John Bolton last week.

But in a December 2016 interview with Larry King, O’Brien told the host he did not want that job. O’Brien made the comment while answering a question from King on what the biggest threat in the world is.

“If I was to be the new national security adviser — and I won’t be, I’m glad it’s General Flynn who’s got that job and not me — the most immediate threat is ISIS and Islamic terrorism,” O’Brien said.

Trump’s pick, Michael Flynn, infamously served only 24 days in the job before he was fired. It was discovered that Flynn had received payments from Russia and in the course of ongoing federal investigations, Flynn lied to the FBI. He pleaded guilty to the federal charge.

O’Brien is currently serving as special presidential envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department. He previously served as an official in the Bush administration, as the alternate representative to the United Nations and later as part of the State Department under Condoleeza Rice.

As Trump’s special presidential envoy, he traveled to Sweden as part of the effort to secure the release of rapper ASAP Rocky.

His predecessor in the position, James C. O’Brien, said his involvement in the celebrity case at Trump’s behest was outside the original framework of the job, which was designed to rescue and secure hostages around the world.

“The envoy’s presence in Sweden is a tweet come to life,” James C. O’Brien told the New York Times.

Robert C. O’Brien would serve as Trump’s sixth national security adviser after the firing of Bolton.

Over the course of eight years, President Barack Obama had three such advisers, and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton each had two.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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