President Trump announced Wednesday that Robert O’Brien, the special envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department, will be his next national security advisor.
O’Brien, a longtime resident of Dartmouth Place in La Cañada Flintridge before a recent move to a home overlooking Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco, will be the fourth person to serve in the position under Trump. He replaces John Bolton, the hard-liner who held the position for more than a year before being ousted last week.
“I have worked long & hard with Robert,” Trump tweeted. “He will do a great job!”
The position does not require Senate confirmation. O’Brien will assume the job at a moment when foreign policy challenges are mounting for Trump, most recently the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities that has been blamed on Iran.
The new national security advisor, a native Angeleno, is a partner at Larson O’Brien, LLP in Los Angeles. He earned his bachelor’s degree at UCLA and his Juris Doctor degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley.
O’Brien, 53, has served the U.S. government in various capacities over the years and wrote “While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis,” a book published in 2016.
After moving to La Cañada 20 years ago, O’Brien and his wife, Lo-Mari, raised three children in town, Margaret, Robert and Lauren, all of whom were educated in the local public school system. The younger Robert O’Brien died in an accidental drowning in September 2015, a few months after his graduation from La Cañada High and just as he was posed to embark on a mission for his church.
La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Pro Tem Greg Brown, who said in a phone interview Wednesday that he’s known the senior O’Brien for years, characterizes the new national security advisor as very level-headed and knowledgeable about international affairs.
“He was involved with the State Department, with a program in Afghanistan, trying to establish more secure legal underpinnings,” Brown said. “So he made a number of trips to Afghanistan when things were really hot there.
“I’m very pleased for him and for the country. I think he’ll be a good voice in the administration,” Brown said.
La Cañada Valley Sun staff contributed to this report.