After President Donald Trump announced that he had fired his national security adviser, John Bolton, on Tuesday, the White House named Charles Kupperman, the deputy national security adviser, to temporarily fill the key post.
Kupperman served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration and as an executive at the defense contractors Boeing and Lockheed Martin before joining the Trump administration as Bolton’s right-hand man last January. Trump said Tuesday that he’ll announce his new permanent pick for the top job next week.
Civil rights groups have raised alarms about Kupperman’s association with the right-wing Center for Security Policy (CSP), a DC-based think tank that has long promoted anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, including that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the US government. Kupperman, 68, served on CSP’s board from 2001 to 2010.
CSP’s founder, Frank Gaffney Jr., has promoted several anti-Muslim conspiracies, including that President Barack Obama was secretly Muslim and that Hillary Clinton’s top adviser Huma Abedin worked for the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is demanding Kupperman be removed from the administration.
“Once again this is an example of Trump elevating foxes into the hen house, where Islamophobes are well placed to direct our nation’s national security priorities,” Robert McCaw, director of government affairs at CAIR, told Al Jazeera.
A Bolton-style hawk
Kupperman is a longtime adviser to Bolton and reportedly aligns with the outgoing official’s hawkish orientation toward foreign policy and intervention.
Trump appointed Kupperman to his national security team last January, citing Kupperman’s “more than four decades of national security policy and program experience.”
“Charlie Kupperman has been an advisor to me for more than thirty years, including during my tenure as National Security Advisor to President Trump,” Bolton said in a White House statement in January. “Charlie’s extensive expertise in defense, arms control and aerospace will help further President Trump’s national security agenda.”
But Trump said he fired Bolton because he “disagreed strongly” with many of Bolton’s policy “suggestions,” indicating that Kupperman may not be in a strong position to influence Trump’s thinking.