SALT LAKE CITY — With Wednesday's announcement that President Donald Trump will name Robert O'Brien to be his new national security adviser, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can now count one of its members among the administration's key figures.
O'Brien replaces John Bolton, who was fired last week, and becomes the fourth man to hold the position under Trump. He was serving as the State Department's chief hostage negotiator.
Both Sen. Mitt Romney and Sen. Mike Lee tweeted their support for the appointment. O'Brien served as an adviser for Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign.
Congratulations to my friend Robert O’Brien, who the President has appointed to serve as National Security Advisor. As the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, he has doggedly pursued the release of American hostages abroad. He is a man of the highest integrity.— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) September 18, 2019
Lee called O'Brien an "incredible champion of religious freedom around the globe," while Romney said he "is a man of the highest integrity."
O'Brien joins other Latter-day Saints such as Terrel Bell, George Romney, Stewart Udall, David M. Kennedy, Mike Leavitt and former church President Ezra Taft Benson in having cabinet-level or close advisory positions to a president. Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser under presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush, was also a Latter-day Saint.
O'Brien worked with Bolton at the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration. He served as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve and has a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, the Associated Press reported.
He is the author of "While America Slept," a 2016 collection of essays on foreign policy and national security.