Trump’s lat­est UN en­voy is Fox host who made se­ries of gaffes

Irish Daily Mail - - Power’s People - By Tom Leonard in New York

DON­ALD Trump yesterday nom­i­nated as US Am­bas­sador to the United Nations an aide who cited the D-Day land­ings as proof of the strength of US-Ger­man re­la­tions.

Heather Nauert, 48, has no diplo­matic ex­pe­ri­ence but caught the pres­i­dent’s at­ten­tion as a co-host of Fox & Friends, his favourite TV pro­gramme.

Plucked from Fox News to serve in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, she be­came the State Depart­ment spokes­woman last year and was later pro­moted to be act­ing un­der sec­re­tary for pub­lic diplo­macy and pub­lic af­fairs.

Mr Trump, whose nom­i­na­tion must be ap­proved by the Repub­li­can-con­trolled US Se­nate, said yesterday that Ms Nauert was ‘very tal­ented’ and ‘very smart’.

How­ever, she has made a string of gaffes and re­port­edly got on so badly with for­mer sec­re­tary of state Rex Tiller­son that she wasn’t al­lowed to ac­com­pany him on for­eign trips.

In June, she said on TV: ‘To­mor­row is the an­niver­sary of the D-Day in­va­sion. We ob­vi­ously have a very long his­tory with the gov­ern­ment of Ger­many, and we have a strong re­la­tion­ship with the gov­ern­ment.’ Crit­ics claimed her com­ment in­di­cated a wor­ry­ing lack of his­tor­i­cal and for­eign af­fairs knowl­edge.

She also drew crit­i­cism when she posted a tourist-like selfie photo of her­self on In­sta­gram dur­ing a visit to Saudi Ara­bia that was meant to fo­cus on the killing of the jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the UN am­bas­sador role goes to a sea­soned diplo­mat or renowned aca­demic.

If Ms Nauert’s ap­point­ment is con­firmed by the US Se­nate, she will re­place Nikki Haley who an­nounced her res­ig­na­tion in Oc­to­ber.

Ms Haley, a for­mer gover­nor of South Carolina, fa­mously clashed with Mr Trump over his friend­li­ness to­wards Moscow. The pres­i­dent has in­di­cated that he’s im­pressed by Ms Nauert’s loy­alty and re­gards her as a safe pair of hands. ‘She’s ex­cel­lent, she’s been with us a long time, she’s been a sup­porter for a long time,’ he said a month ago.

Ms Nauert, a mother of two, rose to promi­nence cover­ing the Mon­ica Lewin­sky scan­dal. She was an as­pir­ing ac­tress who once al­most landed a star­ring role along­side Robert De Niro, and played her­self in the Fox TV drama se­ries 24.

How­ever, scep­tics long ago ques­tioned her ex­per­tise on the mat­ters on which she was talk­ing and even col­leagues raised con­cern she was only pro­moted be­cause of her looks. ‘I told her, “God made you beau­ti­ful. Now you’ve got to make your­self smart,”’ said Tony Snow, a se­nior Fox News col­league who coached her on TV pun­ditry, in 2000.

Once asked on air to iden­tify strong can­di­dates for Ge­orge W Bush’s cab­i­net, she men­tioned ‘an African-Amer­i­can gal’ but was un­able to re­mem­ber Con­doleeza Rice’s name.

In 2014, she warned that im­mi­grant chil­dren ar­riv­ing in the US were bring­ing ‘dis­ease’. The pre­vi­ous year she claimed that a swim­ming group for Mus­lim girls in Min­nesota proved that ‘sharia law is now chang­ing ev­ery­thing’.

Heather Nauert: Crit­ics wor­ried about her skills

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