He impressed the president in that job by securing the launch of a number of Americans imprisoned by international governments and armed groups. Mr. Trump views the launch of detained Americans as tactical “wins” that even his critics are reluctant to problem, and Mr. O’Brien proceeds to go after those cases in his new career.
Some White Household aides joke that his encounter navigating fraught circumstances is great planning for serving Mr. Trump. The president, for his component, appreciates Mr. O’Brien’s silent manner and tailor-made suits after his problems about the gruff personalities and unstylish appearances of Mr. McMaster and Mr. Bolton, whose bushy mustache he generally privately mocked.
Mr. O’Brien also will get along better than his predecessors did with Mr. Pompeo, who feuded with Mr. Bolton, and with Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who frequently presents international policy guidance. And he has been buddies with Mr. Grenell, the newest addition to the countrywide protection workforce, for in excess of a ten years.
He speaks with the president a number of times a day, frequently initial matter in the early morning and in some cases in the White House’s private residence in advance of Mr. Trump descends to the Oval Place of work.
But he has no prior ties to Mr. Trump or formerly regarded affinity for the president’s “America First” design of nationalism. A book of essays he revealed in 2016 channeled mainstream conservative views.
Some national stability pros who have labored with or advised Mr. O’Brien say that it is a blunder to undervalue him and that he has a deft managerial touch that reflects his tenure foremost dozens of legal professionals in the Los Angeles workplace of Arent Fox, the Washington legislation company.
Many others complain that he lacks fluency in coverage aspects and delegates major lifting to his main deputy, Matthew Pottinger, a previous Wall Street Journal reporter and Maritime who is amongst a handful of White Property aides to endure all three years of Mr. Trump’s presidency.
In a tv interview in late December, Mr. O’Brien incorrectly referred to the North Korean ruler, Kim Jong-un, swapping the leader’s surname for his specified a single. It was, his critics said, not a oversight that a a lot more seasoned formal would have made.
Julian E. Barnes, Adam Goldman, Katie Rogers and Edward Wong contributed reporting.