Robert C. O’Brien, President Donald Trump’s choice to be his new national security advisor, was born in Los Angeles and has maintained a strong California connection.
O’Brien is the founding partner with former federal Judge Stephen Larson of the Los Angeles law firm Larson O’Brien LLP, which he established in January 2016.
Previously, he was the partner-in-charge of the California offices of Arent Fox LLP, a national law firm, which under O’Brien’s leadership grew faster than any other top law firm, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal, which in 2016 named him one of the 500 most influential people in Los Angeles.
He received his law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley and his Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA, from which he graduated cum laude. He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University in Orange, has attended the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and is reported to speak fluent Afrikaans.
Since May 2018, O’Brien has been Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. He was given the rank of ambassador one year later.
In 2017, O’Brien was under consideration by the Trump administration to serve as Secretary of the Navy, for which he was endorsed by the Orange County Register editorial board.
O’Brien authored the book “While America Slept.” In The Hill, retired career foreign service officer Bart Marcois wrote, “If you’re wondering what trends and events will drive President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy, you need to read “While America Slept” by Robert O’Brien. The book leaves a reader well versed in the foreign affairs themes that will dominate the discussion for all of the Trump administration, Marcois wrote.
Trump may have taken note.
“I am pleased to announce that I will name Robert C. O’Brien, currently serving as the very successful Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department, as our new National Security Advisor,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!”