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