Heather Nauert to replace Nikki Haley as US' ambassador to UN, but her 'lack of expertise' raises eyebrows

US president Donald Trump on Thursday nominated former Fox News anchor and the spokesperson for the United States Department of State, Heather Nauert, as his new ambassador to the United Nations. Nauert, 48, will replace Indian-American Nikki Haley who had said in October 2018 that she would be leaving the UN post at the end of this year. The announcement was made by a source familiar with Trump's decision, reported Reuters.

Nauert's first government position has been as the state department spokesperson, to which she was appointed in April 2017. She was subsequently named as the acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs in early 2018.

File photo of Heather Nauert. Wikimedia Commons

File photo of Heather Nauert. Wikimedia Commons

Relatively new in the political scene, analysts have now pointed at her lack of political and policy credentials which Haley, a former South Carolina governor, possesses.

Who is Heather Nauert?

Nauert is a native of Rockford, Illinois. She is a graduate of the Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and Mount Vernon College in Washington. Prior to working as a journalist, Nauert had served as a health insurance consultant in Washington DC, cites the official website of the US Department of State.

Nauert has not been the first person from Fox News to be appointed in the Trump administration. Fox News executive Bill Shine was made a top communications adviser and John Bolton, also a contributor to the channel, is the White House national security adviser.

Nauert had worked for Fox News from 1998 to 2005 before joining ABC. She subsequently returned to Fox in 2007 and became a presenter for its 'Fox & Friends'. She had also previously acted in two American television series – Brother's Keeper and 24.   

Is Nauert up for the new role?

Trump's decision was first reported by Bloomberg News and if confirmed Nauert is likely face a "tough" Senate confirmation hearing. According to The Guardian, the President has sought someone who will "demonstrate loyalty". So it is hardly surprising that someone from Fox News would be elevated to the top US job since the channel has been known to be Trump's favorite and most supportive news network.

Nauert, says The Washington Post, has earned a reputation as a "stalwart defender" of the president even through the turbulent tenure of Trump's first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

CNN, while citing her "precipitous rise" since arriving at the state department, also speculates how the Democrats are likely to "grill Nauert" on her qualifications for the position. It also talks about how, despite Nauert being "TV savvy", her current and former colleagues have wondered if she will be fit for the top post which will require her to navigate gritty behind-the-scenes work of UN negotiations.

She will also have to deal with issues such as North Korea's nuclear program, Yemen's famine as well as back US's effort's to contain Iran's influence over West Asia.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, a US diplomat said, "Nauert seems to be a compromise candidate of two powerful foreign policy mavens of the Trump administration – Mike Pompeo and Bolton."
The Washinton Post also quoted former state department official Brett Bruen as saying, "While Haley didn't bring foreign policy experience, she ran a state. Nauert’s performance as acting undersecretary of state was notable for its lack of accomplishments or even attention to the job. It does not present a compelling case, nor engender confidence in the Senate, that she is ready for a such a senior position.”
Meanwhile, the Indian permanent mission to the UN, which has developed a good relationship with Haley, is also likely to closely watch Nauert.
With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 07, 2018 23:41:30 IST

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