EXCLUSIVE: Trump Critic Lands Key State Department Role

Alex Pfeiffer | White House Correspondent

Brian Hook, a Trump critic and former Bush administration official, is currently serving as the State Department’s director of policy planning, The Daily Caller has learned.

Foreign Policy magazine previously reported that Hook was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s favorite for the role and a department spokeswoman confirmed to TheDC Thursday that Hook got the job. The director of policy planning is a key position responsible for running the department’s internal think tank, which is home to the secretary of state’s speechwriters.

Hook previously served in the Bush administration in several roles, including as assistant secretary of state for international organizations, and later served as a foreign policy adviser for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign.

The State Department official also co-founded the John Hay Initiative, a neoconservative group that organized a letter of over 100 Republican foreign policy experts who would refuse to back Trump. Eliot Cohen, another co-founder of the John Hay Initiative, has been a strong critic of the Trump administration.

The John Hay Initiative advocated for a foreign policy that Trump rejected during the presidential campaign. It called for a tougher stance against Russia and more involvement overseas. Hook told Politico in May, “Even if you say you support him as the nominee, you go down the list of [Trump’s] positions and you see you disagree on every one.”

After Foreign Policy reported that Hook might land a State Department role, Daniel DePetris, a National Interest contributor, wrote, “Trump should know what he’s getting himself into: if he hires Brian Hook, he will be opening his arms to a member of the very establishment he campaigned against.”

A State Department official who was a Trump political appointee told TheDC, “I’m so disappointed about all the neoconservatives trickling into the administration.”

The official pointed to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell as foreign policy officials who are opposed to the anti-interventionist stance Trump embraced during the campaign.

While these officials have made it into office, Trump did reportedly reject neoconservative Elliot Abrams’ bid for deputy secretary of state after he found out that Abrams criticized him throughout the campaign.

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