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Latter-day Saint to Serve as New National Security Adviser

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Latter-day Saint to Serve as New National Security Adviser

Nauvoo News

WASHINGTON: Robert O'Brien, President Trump’s new appointee to the National Security Advisor post, has had a long career in foreign policy working for both main US parties and currently heads hostage negotiations at the State Department. 

O’Brien, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will become the highest ranking Latter-day Saint in the U.S. government.

As top adviser on national security, Mr O'Brien will be tasked with tackling everything from immigration policy to heightened tensions with Iran.

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The president and his new appointee spoke with reporters on Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.

"Robert has been fantastic," Mr Trump said, praising Mr O'Brien's work with hostages. "We know each other well."

Mr O'Brien said it was a "privilege" to take on the role.

"We've got a number of challenges but there's a great team in place," he said. "I look forward to working with them and working with the president to keep America safe and continue to rebuild our military."

Mr O'Brien follows Mr Bolton, HR McMaster and Michael Flynn in the role, which does not require confirmation by Congress.

“He is particularly adept at listening to other people, weighing differing opinions and not imposing his own views,” says Sen. Mitt Romney. Romney relied on O’Brien as an adviser during his campaign for president. “O’Brien a clear eyed realist. He harbors no prejudice, but he also is very understanding of the maligned intent of nations that are building a military threat.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who worked with O’Brien in the State Department said “He is an incredible champion of religious freedom around the globe and I am confident that he will excel in his role as national security adviser to the president,”

The new national security adviser trained as a lawyer then went on to advise Republicans on foreign policy and has served in various government roles.

Former President Bush appointed him in 2005 to serve as a representative to the UN General Assembly. 

While at the UN, he worked with Mr Bolton, who was then the ambassador. He has also worked for former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

A former Obama administration official was among those who celebrated the appointment of Mr O'Brien.

"All I have to say is that @robertcobrien is a really, really good person and that I wish him all the best in what will certainly be a challenging role," said Andrew Exum, a former deputy assistant secretary of defence for Middle East policy, on Twitter.

The new Trump pick and his predecessor share some similar views.

Mr O'Brien was critical of the UN in his book, While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis. 

He wrote that his son described the general assembly as "when all the dictators come to America and give speeches about how bad we are", something Mr O'Brien called "one of the better descriptions" he had heard. 

Mr O'Brien has also criticised the Iran nuclear deal, calling Iran "the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world".

In his role as special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, Mr O'Brien works with families of US hostages and advises on related issues, including recovery policies.

Mr O'Brien was involved with the release of US rapper ASAP Rocky from Swedish detention last month.

He is believed to be the highest-ranking Mormon member of the Trump administration.