Did Sec. of State Tillerson’s right hand man, Brian Hook, set a major policy shift on refugees? by Ann Corcoran, 6/25/17
“…..if he hires Brian Hook, he will be opening his arms to a member of the very establishment he campaigned against.”
Last night I told you that twitter phenom Mike Cernovich immediately fingered Tillerson’s chief policy advisor, Brian Hook, as the State Department official who okayed the release of an e-mail last month to their refugee industry partners around the world announcing a huge jump in weekly refugee admissions.
(So far we have not seen the bump-up from 900 to 1,500 a week that was announced as Trump and Tillerson were wrapping up a world tour. That is not to say it isn’t still coming.)
A jump to 1,500 a week for the remaining weeks of the fiscal year would push Trump’s numbers up above 2—56,424 and 58,238—and perhaps as many as 5 of Barack Obama’s years! (Here).
When the New York Times announced the stunning news (we wrote about it here), I and many others following the issue closely, were completely flummoxed—-how could Trump go so far from his campaign promises, and did he think no one was watching?
Update - Just checked the numbers and there is no sign of any bump-up. We admitted 2,244 in the last 3 weeks (June 2-June 23) which represents an average of 748 refugees a week.
We don’t know if Cernovich is correct, but when you learn more about Hook, it makes sense.
Here is what you need to know about who Rex Tillerson relies on for policy decisions in a State Department being run almost completely by career bureaucrats who frankly hate Donald Trump.
And, incidentally, it easily could have been Hook (Tillerson’s chief policy strategist) who was the leader of the pack stomping on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban while shilling for GEORGE SOROS here last week.
Here is Brian Hook’s bio.
Here is what Alex Pfeiffer (Daily Caller) said about him and his appointment in March: 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.
Brian Hook is not only a Bushie, but a Romney advisor and cheerleader. When Trump did not choose Romney for Sec. of State, was Hook the bone Trump threw to the Bush/Romney interests. Was Tillerson required to take Hook?
Foreign Policy magazine previously reported that Hook was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s favorite for the role and a department spokeswoman confirmed to The DC 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.
During the Presidential campaign, Hook disagreed with every one of Trump’s positions, so clearly he is opposed to slowing the flow of refugees to America.
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.” More here.
Then we learn even more from a huge article at Politico. Of course Politico is writing in support of the State Department bureaucrats who, first and foremost, hate Donald Trump and are working daily to undermine his White House (at least on the issue we care the most about, see here).
Politico tells us that because the Tillerson State Department has hired so few people loyal to the President, foreign governments are going directly to Hook or, Jared Kushner!
In theory, the Policy Planning office is a kind of in-house think thank that develops long-range strategy, but in practice it often feeds the secretary of state with views about day-to-day problems. The lack of Trump appointees at the State Department’s regional desks and embassies, and the sidelining of many career diplomats, has added pressure on Hook’s office to develop policy for Tillerson.
It’s also led foreign governments to seek out other avenues of communication. Trump has nominated only a handful of U.S. ambassadors, and some countries have responded simply by reaching out directly to Hook or to other White House officials, including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Politico tells us that career bureaucrats went bonkers over Trump White House decision on refugees. Others say asking senior aides who were deeply and visibly supportive of an array of Obama-era foreign policy initiatives, including the Iran deal — to reverse, modify, or unwind those initiatives, is difficult if not impossible. Even before Tillerson’s confirmation, the State Department’s dissent channel — an internal venue for career officials to register concerns with the trajectory of American policy — lit up with protests over the administration’s temporary ban on refugees.
So, did Hook (Politico calls him Tillerson’s “policy brain”) agree to the announcement of a stepped-up refugee admissions schedule to appease the swamp monsters—the long-time bureaucrats who almost unanimously donated to Hillary’s presidential campaign?
And, one more thing. We have been pointing out for many weeks that the US Refugee Admissions Program is being run by long-time bureaucrats and that there has been no move to find a Trump loyalist to fill the Asst. Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) position.
Politico confirms that Trump/Tillerson have made no move to get their own people in place. LOL! Politico suggests that the ‘career civil servants’ want some leadership, but, at least for PRM, I’m betting they are pretty happy to have no Trump-appointee holding the reins so that they can simply run the show and persuade Hook/Tillerson that opening the spigot to 1,500 refugees a week will go unnoticed.
Politico continues…..About four months after Tillerson’s confirmation, Hook has told associates that his boss is in no rush to fill the several hundred senior-level posts that require political appointments. Trump has yet to nominate a single assistant secretary, leaving the department’s top posts for regions like Europe, Asia and the Middle East vacant.
Instead, career civil servants — “acting” assistant secretaries are filling the jobs until their replacements are nominated, a move that is eliciting criticism from department veterans.
By the way, it will be a battle-royal in the Senate over the PRM job, but there is no reason that Tillerson can’t (right now!) get an advisor who knows something about the USRAP, and such an advisor/consultant does not require Senate confirmation. Indeed it should be noted that George W. Bush had to get his Asst. Sec for PRM (Ellen Sauerbrey) in place by using a recess-appointment. Much more here at Politico. More on Hook at the John Hay Initiative.