Dark horse 2024 contender Robert C. O'Brien steps up 2022 activity for GOP

·3 min read

Former national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien is the latest Republican entrant in the presidential sweepstakes, counseling 2022 candidates on foreign policy and filling his political calendar with events to bolster GOP efforts in recapturing the majority in Congress.

O’Brien recently headlined a foreign policy panel during a donor retreat in Washington hosted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California. O’Brien has endorsed candidates in the competitive Republican primary for Senate in Pennsylvania, backing former ambassador Carla Sands. He is also scheduled to headline a fundraiser in September for Ohio Senate contender J.D. Vance, sources confirmed to the Washington Examiner Monday.

Amid O’Brien’s escalating political activity, he has become a regular on the Republican speaking circuit, hitting the major conferences with the party’s top 2024 presidential contenders attended by grassroots voters and GOP activists.

“Ambassador O’Brien’s breadth of experience — from hostage negotiation to crafting foreign policy — offers tremendous value to candidates, particularly those who haven’t yet developed a foreign policy platform,” said Brian Jack, former White House political director under former President Donald Trump who runs McCarthy’s political operation. “He’s knowledgeable, likable, and has great lessons people like to learn.”

O’Brien, 55, is a former ambassador appointed by Trump as a special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, who later served as the 45th commander in chief’s fourth national security adviser.

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After a series of hiring misfires that cycled through as Trump's national security advisers in his first two and a half years in office, O’Brien stuck. With roots and relationships in the traditional sector of the Republican Party and a successful sojourn in the Trump White House under his belt, O’Brien has become something of a bridge across the disparate wings of the party — at least on foreign policy matters.

O’Brien is a dark horse 2024 contender.

There are Trump administration veterans with bigger names and bigger platforms, including in the category of foreign policy specialists. To name a few, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is eyeing a bid, as well as Nikki Haley, the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Mike Pence, as the former vice president, also fits in that group. But O’Brien has received some buzz for his ability to navigate Trumpworld without burning his credibility in traditional circles.

And as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Los Angeles, O’Brien might have an edge in western state primaries.

There are significant populations of church members in states such as Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. These may grant O’Brien an advantage if the presidential primary has not been wrapped up by the time those states vote. Meanwhile, O’Brien is doing what every other possible Republican 2024 contender is doing: pouring his time and energy into the 2022 midterm elections.

O’Brien is accelerating his effort to raise money for Republican congressional candidates and make himself available to provide advice and education on foreign policy matters. Republican insiders familiar with the former national security adviser’s work on this front say it is particularly valuable, emphasizing that first-time candidates for federal office often are not well versed on foreign policy issues.

Republicans are just five seats shy of the majority in the House and one seat away from taking back the Senate.

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Since President Joe Biden assumed power, Haley, Pence, and Pompeo have set up political operations to help Republicans reclaim control of Congress. Other Republicans interested in a 2024 bid — such as Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem — are using their political prominence to do the same.

Indeed, it seems the only potential 2024 Republicans who are not devoting themselves to helping the party in 2022 are those focused on their own midterm reelection bid.

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Tags: News, Campaigns, 2022 Elections, 2024 Elections, Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy

Original Author: David M. Drucker

Original Location: Dark horse 2024 contender Robert C. O'Brien steps up 2022 activity for GOP

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