"You know, I'm not looking to get into new conflict", Trump said Monday, "but sometimes you have to". Even taking into account his own imperfections, his perspective on an Administration with an obviously flawed foreign policy should prove to be quite interesting. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), among others.
Recently fired national security advisor John Bolton is spending his first days of forced retirement complaining about how he was thisclose to finally starting a war with Iran-if only President Donald Trump hadn't stopped him.
Whether O'Brien, a diplomat who has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, can fit that role is far from clear.
O'Brien has served since spring 2018 as the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.
But O'Brien, unlike Bolton, is a relatively low-profile pick, at least in the public sphere.
He moved to La Cañada Flintridge decades ago, and raised two children there.
In 2005, Bush nominated O'Brien to be U.S. Representative to the U.N. General Assembly, where he worked with Bolton.
They relayed that the ex-national security adviser also said the president's decision to invite leaders of the Taliban to Camp David the weekend before the anniversary of 9/11 sent a "terrible signal" and was "disrespectful" to the victims of the terrorist attack because the jihadist group harbored al-Qaeda.
In his 2016 book While America Slept, O'Brien criticised what he called then outgoing president Barack Obama's attempt to present a more collaborative, dovish United States.
O'Brien, who received his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and his law degree from U.C. Berkeley, is the co-founding partner of Larson O'Brien LLP in Los Angeles. In addition to his client work, O'Brien served as an arbitrator in worldwide proceedings and was appointed by federal courts to serve as a special master in numerous complex cases.
In making this choice, Trump is relying not only on O'Brien's established ability to work well with the president and the secretary of state, but also on his skills honed by decades of representing diverse clients in complex litigation and arbitration before both global and domestic courts.
"Unfortunately, he has been short on specifics and has criticized key weapons systems", he said at the time.
"In the face of rising challenges around the world, it is time to return to a national security policy based on 'peace through strength, '" he wrote. O'Brien has said he is confident Tice is still alive.
O'Brien is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will be the highest ranking member of the faith in the administration.
Bolton also said a few times that Trump's failure to respond to the Iranian attack on an American drone earlier this summer set the stage for the Islamic Republic's aggression in recent months - including Saturday's large-scale attack on the Saudi's oil industry. In the most unusual episode, O'Brien was dispatched to USA ally Sweden to attend the trial of U.S. rapper ASAP Rocky, who was accused of assault.
The announcement of O'Brien's selection comes a week after the Republican president ousted John Bolton from the national security adviser's post, citing policy disagreements.
"I think Robert is low-drama, but I would not interpret that as being weak", said Pierre-Richard Prosper, who was ambassador-at-large for war crimes in the George W. Bush administration and who's known O'Brien for more than 25 years.