Trump team: Company lawyer in, ex-Bush aide to be top counterterrorism adviser
President-elect Donald Trump appointed an experienced hand from the George W Bush era to his national security circle Tuesday and a figure from the Trump Organization to make international deals.
Thomas Bossert will become as assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. A statement from Trump’s transition team said Bossert will advise the president on issues related to homeland security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity, and coordinate the Cabinet’s process for making and executing policy in those areas.
The position notably “is being elevated and restored to its independent status alongside the national security adviser,” the statement said. Policymakers have long debated whether such national security jobs should operate independently from the White House.
Bossert will work closely with Trump’s pick for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Bossert is currently president of the risk management consulting firm CDS Consulting. He previously served as deputy assistant to the president for homeland security under Bush.
The president-elect also appointed one of his main advisers on US-Israel relations as special representative for international negotiations. Jason Greenblatt has worked for the Trump Organization for over two decades and currently serves as its executive vice president and chief legal officer.
Trump has turned to his long-time company’s top lawyer to serve as a special negotiator for trade deals and other talks, Trump’s team said in a statement on Tuesday.
Jason Greenblatt, chief legal officer for The Trump Organization who served as Trump’s adviser to the Middle East, will work as Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, the statement said.
Trump said Greenblatt “has a history of negotiating substantial, complex transactions on my behalf,” and has the expertise to “bring parties together and build consensus on difficult and sensitive topics.”
Trump’s West Wing is shaping up to have multiple power centers. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Steve Bannon will work as “equal partners,” according to Trump, and counselor Kellyanne Conway is also expected to have autonomy. Trump’s influential son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will also have a direct line to the president.
Trump has long stoked rivalries among his staff in business and in the campaign. But doing so in the White House could sow confusion and slow decision-making.
Trump recently named his other top adviser on Israel, David Friedman, as his pick for US ambassador to Israel.
The president-elect is spending the holidays in his Florida resort where he’s held a steady stream of meetings with senior staffers, advisers and business executives. A number of key posts in his government remain, his transition team saying that he will fill those positions in the coming days.