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Trump names A$AP Rocky envoy as new national security adviser

2019-09-18

Robert O’Brien, a longtime Republican foreign policy hand and hostage expert tapped to monitor the A$AP Rocky criminal case in Sweden, has been named by President Trump as his new national security adviser.

Trump tweeted the announcement from California, where he was opening the third and final day of a West Coast fundraising swing.

“I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!” Trump tweeted.

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!

O’Brien will become his fourth national security adviser in less than three years in office.

He succeeds the hawkish John Bolton, whom Trump ousted last week citing policy disagreements.

As the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department, O’Brien worked closely with the families of American hostages and advised administration officials on hostage issues. He previously helped lead the department’s public-private partnership for justice reform in Afghanistan during the Bush and Obama administrations.

Trump dispatched O’Brien to Sweden to keep tabs on the criminal case there against A$AP Rocky, who a judge and jury ultimately found guilty of assault in August, several weeks after a street brawl in Stockholm that attracted Trump’s attention.

Trump tried to intervene in the case by calling Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in July and offering to personally guarantee bail for the rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers. Lofven told Trump he couldn’t interfere in a legal matter.

From 2008 through 2011, O’Brien was a presidentially appointed member of a government committee that advises on issues related to the trafficking of antiquities and other cultural items. In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated O’Brien to be U.S. Representative to the U.N. General Assembly, where he worked with Bolton. O’Brien was confirmed by the Senate.

He is a longtime GOP operative and served as an adviser on the Republican presidential campaigns of former Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.