FILE PHOTO: U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks during a graduation ceremony at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, U.S., May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin/File Photo
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the candidates he is considering to become his national security adviser include former deputy national security adviser Ricky Waddell, Vice President Mike Pence’s security aide Keith Kellogg, and hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump said the other possible successors to John Bolton, the hawkish national security adviser he fired last week, were Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and one-time aide to Bolton, and Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, under secretary for nuclear security of the U.S. Department of Energy.
The list shows that Trump is considering familiar faces within his administration. Waddell was deputy White House national security adviser for a year when retired General H.R. McMaster had the top job, while Kellogg was executive secretary of the National Security Council until Bolton took over the office 17 months ago. O’Brien has a long history in Republican foreign policy circles.
Fleitz has a long history with Bolton, who was abruptly fired over his handling of North Korea and Venezuela. A former CIA officer, Fleitz served as executive secretary of the National Security Council for seven months in 2018 and was Bolton’s chief of staff at the State Department. He left the security council to head the Center for Security Policy, a right-wing think tank.
An outspoken critic of Iran, Fleitz has espoused hardline views on Islam. He told Breitbart News in 2017 that some Muslim communities in the United States are susceptible to a “radical worldview that wants to destroy modern society, create a global caliphate, and impose sharia law on everyone on Earth.”
Gordon-Hagerty has worked in the private sector and as a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives on security issues. She also served on the National Security Council and in other roles in the Energy Department addressing crisis management, emergency response and nuclear weapons.
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay; Writing by Matt Spetalnick and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Leslie Adler