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World Pence hires Haley aide as national security adviser, creating unusual dual role

Vice President Mike Pence has hired Jon Lerner, a veteran Republican pollster who is a deputy for the U.N. ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, as his national security adviser, a spokeswoman for Pence said Thursday evening.

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The White House said Vice President Mike Pence repeated President Donald Trump's request that Pakistan increase its efforts to address the Taliban's presence play

The White House said Vice President Mike Pence repeated President Donald Trump's request that Pakistan increase its efforts to address the Taliban's presence

(GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File)

Lerner will continue to work with Haley while advising Pence “full time,” according to Alyssa Farah, the vice president’s spokeswoman.

The unusual arrangement, reported Thursday by The Washington Post, gives Pence and Haley a single key voice on national security.

The move comes during a week of major upheaval for President Donald Trump’s own national security team. John Bolton took over as national security adviser on Monday and immediately began shaking up the ranks, pushing out Thomas P. Bossert, the president’s chief adviser on homeland security, on Tuesday. On Thursday, Mike Pompeo, the CIA director whom Trump has nominated for secretary of state, underwent a Senate confirmation hearing.

Lerner managed Haley’s successful campaign for governor of South Carolina in 2010 and is one of her closest advisers. She insisted on having Lerner join her when she went to the United Nations. Since then, he has worked with several White House officials on national security issues, one West Wing official said.

Outside of his time at the United Nations, Lerner has held no national security positions, and as a pollster, he has worked for some previous Trump opponents. He advised the super PAC supporting Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during the 2016 presidential primary. He also advises the anti-tax Club for Growth, which ran several ads denouncing Trump during the primaries.

It was unclear whether Trump was aware of the move. A spokeswoman for the president did not respond to an email seeking comment.

But one White House official said Lerner had been supported for the role by Bolton and Pompeo. The official added that Lerner had vocally backed Trump’s “America First” agenda.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

MAGGIE HABERMAN © 2018 The New York Times

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