Trump Names National Security Advisory Team

AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

Billionaire and 2016 GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has listed, for the first time on Monday, a series of national security experts who are advising him and his campaign for the presidency.

Trump had already previously named U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as the chairman of his national security team, but on Monday, for the first time ever, he provided the Washington Post with a list of advisers that comprise the team. Trump’s rivals and critics have argued repeatedly that his refusal, until now, to name his advisers meant he was not to be trusted with a president’s most important responsibility: Keeping the country safe.

But Trump’s list of national security advisers, preliminarily released in the Post interview with more on the way, comes on a day he has held meetings with Sessions, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and other Republican lawmakers.

“Walid Phares, who you probably know. Ph.D., adviser to the House of Representatives. He’s a counter-terrorism expert,” Trump said in the Post interview, according to reporters Robert Costa and Philip Rucker. “Carter Page, Ph.D. George Papadopoulos. He’s an oil and energy consultant. Excellent guy. The honorable Joe Schmitz, [was] inspector general at the Department of Defense. General Keith Kellogg. And I have quite a few more. But that’s a group of some of the people that we are dealing with. We have many other people in different aspects of what we do. But that’s a pretty representative group.”

Rucker and Costa noted the interview went for about an hour in the Washington Post’s new offices downtown in Washington, D.C., and Trump began the meeting “by pulling out a list of some of his foreign policy advisers.”

Costa and Rucker wrote:

Donald Trump revealed part of his foreign policy advisory team and outlined an unabashedly non-interventionist approach to world affairs during a wide-ranging meeting Monday with The Washington Post’s editorial board. The Republican presidential front-runner listed for the first time five of the individuals who are part of a team, chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), counseling him on foreign affairs and helping to shape his policies.

Phares, as the Post notes, teaches at National Defense University and at Washington’s Daniel Morgan Academy, “and has advised members of Congress as well as appeared as a television analyst on terrorism and the Middle East.” The Post also wrote:

Page, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and now the managing partner of Global Energy Capital, is a longtime energy-industry executive who rose through the ranks at Merrill Lynch around the world before founding his current firm. He previously was a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations where he focused on the Caspian Sea region and the economic development in former Soviet states, according to his company biography and documents from his appearances at panels over the past decade.

Papdopoulos, they wrote, is the director of an international energy center at the London Centre of International Law Practice.

“He previously advised the presidential campaign of Ben Carson and worked as a research fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington,” Costa and Rucker wrote.

Schmitz was previously the Inspector General at the Department of Defense during the George W. Bush administration’s early days and also worked at Blackwater Worldwide.

“In a brief phone call Monday, Schmitz confirmed that he is working for the Trump campaign and said that he has been involved for the past month,” Costa and Rucker wrote. “He said he frequently confers with Sam Clovis, one of Trump’s top policy advisers, and that there has been a series of conference calls and briefings in recent weeks.”

Kellogg, meanwhile, is a former Army Lieutenant General and currently, according to Costa’s and Rucker’s report, “an executive vice president at Virginia-based CACI International, a Virginia-based intelligence and information technology consulting firm with clients around the world.”

“He has experience in national defense and homeland security issues and worked as chief operating officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad following the invasion of Iraq,” Costa and Rucker wrote.


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