State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC on November 30, 2017.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump will replace Nikki Haley, who resigned in October as UN envoy, with State Department spokesman Heather Nauert, a policy novice, according to the administration announced on Friday.
The appointment of Nauert has been anticipated for weeks. Before joining the Trump administration in her inaugural role in public service, Nauert worked as a Fox News anchor, gaining Trump’s attention.
She has since impressed the State Department for her professionalism and rapid education on a host of foreign policy matters, although she has also had several fumbles, confusing the events of the D-Day invasion during World War II and confusing foreign capitals that she struggles to pronounce.
State Department officials privately questioned Nauert’s credentials upon the appointment, and Democrats on Capitol Hill characterized her as the least qualified nominee for the post in history.
But Trump, who has repeatedly said he hires “the best people,” described Nauert as “very talented, very smart, very quick” in brief remarks on the appointment from the White House lawn.
Nauert is expected to follow in the footsteps of Haley, who convinced Trump to elevate the UN ambassador position to a cabinet-level role and who was able to battle with the president on a series of issues without losing his confidence.
Haley has become an all-star in the Israel advocacy community for her offensive approach to anti-Israel bias in international fora— an approach Nauert is expected to emulate, according to two officials familiar with her thinking.
Trump gave Haley a rare, dignified send-off in October in the Oval Office, praising her work and claiming she transformed the role into a “glamorous” position.
Haley served in the UN position, which requires Senate confirmation, for just under two years.
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