Brian Hook, a noted Trump critic during the presidential election, is a key figure in a State Department containing many unfilled positions.
Hook is the State Department’s director of policy planning, and a Politico report Sunday citing several officials said that Hook has an inordinate amount of power in shaping American foreign policy. A State Department official confirmed this description of Hook to The Daily Caller.
The position of director of policy planning is usually an important one and serves as a think tank of sorts for the department. However, with many unfilled roles at the State Department, Hook has held even more power than previous office holders, Politico reported. 112 positions requiring Senate confirmation are currently empty at the State Department.
Hook’s influential role is noteworthy due to the fact that he ran an organization that criticized Trump during the campaign, as well as the fact that Hook himself came out against then-candidate Trump’s policies. (RELATED: Hundreds Of Top Government Positions Remain Unfilled)
Hook, a former Bush administration official, served as a foreign policy adviser for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and co-founded the John Hay Initiative. This is a neoconservative group that organized a letter of over 100 Republican foreign policy experts that refused to back Trump’s foreign policy. Hook himself didn’t sign the letter.
The stance the group advocated is antithetical to Trump’s views, as it has called for a tougher stance towards Russia and more involvement in affairs overseas. In a book introduction co-written by Hook, it said the John Hay Initiative disagrees with those who think “that ‘nation-building at home’ is some kind of alternative to engagement abroad.”
The former Bush administration official also told Politico in May 2016, “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.” (RELATED: Chaos At State Dept Is Slowing Trump Down, Critics Say)
The Politico story Sunday said Hook “has told associates that [Secretary of State Rex Tillerson] is in no rush to fill the several hundred senior-level posts that require political appointments.”
Due to this, the report stated that this noted Trump critic is giving memos to Tillerson that guide America’s stance overseas. The report goes on to say Hook distrusts current career officials, and said that he “tries to coordinate American policy in dozens of nations.”