A senior advisor at the State Department who opposes President Donald Trump’s views on Iran is currently slated to be named the Special Envoy for Iranian Affairs, The Daily Wire has learned.
Brian Hook, the Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State and Director of Policy Planning, is expected to be named to the position, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Hook, who was brought in by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is considered by Trump loyalists to be “never Trump” because he was closely aligned with officials who were highly critical of Trump’s policies during the 2016 presidential campaign. Foreign Policy (FP) reports:
Hook is the co-founder of the John Hay Initiative, a group of former Mitt Romney foreign-policy advisors whose leaders organized a prominent letter signed by 121 GOP national security luminaries refusing to support Trump last March because he would “act in ways that make America less safe.”
FP notes that while Hook did not personally sign the letter, he has stated that he opposes multiple Trump policy stances and that his wife is vehemently in the “never Trump” resistance.
“My wife said ‘never,'” Hook told Politico in 2016. “Even if you say you support him as the nominee, you go down the list of his positions and you see you disagree on every one.”
NPR reported this April that Hook did not want to scrap the Iran nuclear deal but rather wanted to slightly tweak it, which would seem to fall short of Trump’s desired aggressive approach toward the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism.
R.C. Hammond, Tillerson’s former media strategist, provided some reassurances about Hook in a Bloomberg report from March of this year, saying that Hook is “far more conservative than he gets credit for.”
While that may provide some relief for the Trump administration, it is worth noting that Hook has been plagued by some controversy while at the State Department.
FP further noted that emails obtained by Democratic lawmakers and Politico have brought up questions “as to whether he and other Trump administration officials sought to retaliate against career diplomats at the State Department who were branded by conservative activists as politically suspect.”