Trump to nominate State Department spokeswoman as next UN ambassador

Washington: President Donald Trump plans to nominate State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as the next US ambassador to the United Nations, a senior administration official said Thursday.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.Credit:AP

Nauert's nomination had been rumoured for weeks, and she had started handing over some of her responsibilities as spokeswoman to her deputy, Robert Palladino. Since mid-October, she had rarely been seen by reporters at the State Department as Palladino took the lead.

Nauert joined the State Department last year after a career as a television anchor and correspondent at Fox News. She would replace Nikki Haley, who announced that she was resigning in October.

A former news reporter for ABC, she joined Fox in 1996, originally as a correspondent and later as a co-host for Fox and Friends. Trump is one of the show's biggest fans, and he often finds inspiration in the hosts' remarks as topics for his morning tweets.

Nauert left Fox in April last year after being appointed as the State Department spokeswoman early in the tenure of then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The two never established a close working relationship. She did not accompany him on overseas trips or participate in his meetings with foreign dignitaries, and aides confided it was largely because he considered her a White House loyalist with particularly close ties to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

Her first year on the job was frustrating, and she began to emerge only after Trump fired Tillerson by tweet.

She marked her first anniversary in the position during her first foreign trip with a secretary of state, making a trip to Toronto with John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state who was acting as the top diplomat until Mike Pompeo's confirmation.

Under Pompeo, whose foreign policy views more closely align with Trump's than Tillerson's, Nauert became part of the inner circle. They met regularly, and she usually travelled with Pompeo on trips abroad. He elevated her to under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, a job vacated by Steve Goldstein who was fired along with Tillerson.

Nauert did not bring with her the depth of foreign policy experience of some of her predecessors, many of whom were veteran Foreign Service officers who spent their careers immersed in the intricacies of diplomacy and foreign affairs.

But after a year and a half explaining State Department positions, Nauert now has more foreign policy experience than Haley did when she became the US ambassador to the United Nations.

When Haley announced her impending resignation in early October, Trump praised the accomplishments the former North Carolina governor had racked up.

Nauert displayed a comfort level speaking on camera for briefings that are live-streamed on the State Department website. The sessions with reporters are watched closely by Foreign Service and civil service officers in the building, who try to glean clues of subtle changes in policy they are expected to follow.

Washington Post

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