Trump's new national security adviser attended 'routinely racist' apartheid-era South African university

Last week, President Trump selected his fourth national security adviser in the wake of John Bolton's recent ouster from the position. Taking over the role is Robert O'Brien, who will be tasked with handling everything from immigration policy to negotiations with North Korea. But as The Guardian reported this Tuesday, questions are already being raised about his background.


During the apartheid era, O'Brien attended a segregated university in South Africa. As The Guardian reports, O'Brien was at the University of the Orange Free State starting in 1986 during a time when South Africa was a pariah state slammed with boycotts and sanctions from the US. According to the university's former vice-chancellor Professor Jonathan Jansen, the school was a "white, Afrikaans university for people then called Afrikaners – very conservative and routinely racist not only in their policies but in their practices."

Speaking to The Guardian, Jansen said there were “no black students or staff" at the university" except those cleaning the place and working the gardens."

From The Guardian:

It has also emerged that O’Brien has had contact with AfriForum, a controversial NGO in South Africa which campaigns to protect the culture and interests of the country’s Afrikaans-speaking minority, and defends the apartheid legacy. The group has been at the centre of a series of high-profile rows over that legacy, most recently failing in an attempt to overturn a legal ruling designating the flying of the old apartheid-era South African flag as hate speech.

In a 2017 interview with AfriForum, O'Brien had nothing but good things to say about the university. In a book he authored titled While America Slept, he reportedly makes no mention of apartheid.