Trump nom­i­nates new U.N. am­bas­sador

Spokes­woman will re­place Ha­ley if she’s con­firmed.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

The pres­i­dent has cho­sen State Depart­ment spokes­woman — and for­mer Fox News Channel host — Heather Nauert.

Pres­i­dent WASH­ING­TON —

Don­ald Trump an­nounced Fri­day he’s nom­i­nat­ing State Depart­ment spokes­woman Heather Nauert to be the next U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions.

“She’s very tal­ented, very smart, very quick, and I think she’s go­ing to be re­spected by all,” Trump said Fri­day be­fore de­part­ing the White House for an event in Kansas City, Mis­souri.

If she is con­firmed by the Se­nate, Nauert, a for­mer Fox News Channel re­porter who had lit­tle for­eign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore be­com­ing State Depart­ment spokes­woman, will re­place Nikki Ha­ley. Ha­ley, a for­mer South Carolina gov­er­nor, an­nounced in Oc­to­ber that she would step down at the end of this year. Nauert would be a lead­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion voice on Trump’s for­eign pol­icy.

Trump told re­porters last month that Nauert was “ex­cel­lent,” adding, “She’s been a sup­porter for a long time.”

Plucked from Fox by the White House to serve as State Depart­ment spokes­woman, Nauert cat­a­pulted into the up­per ech­e­lons of the agency’s hi­er­ar­chy when Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son was fired in March and re­placed with Mike Pom­peo. Nauert was then ap­pointed act­ing un­der­sec­re­tary of state for pub­lic di­plo­macy and pub­lic af­fairs and was for a time the high­est-rank­ing woman and fourth high­est-rank­ing of­fi­cial in the build­ing.

Nauert, who re­port­edly did not have a good re­la­tion­ship with Tiller­son and had con­sid­ered leav­ing the depart­ment, told as­so­ciates at the time she was taken aback by the pro­mo­tion of­fer and rec­om­mended a col­league for the job. But when White House of­fi­cials told her they wanted her, she ac­cepted.

That role gave her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties far be­yond the news con­fer­ences she held in the State Depart­ment brief­ing room. She over­saw pub­lic di­plo­macy in Wash­ing­ton and all of the roughly 275 over­seas U.S. em­bassies, con­sulates and other posts. She was in charge of the Global En­gage­ment Cen­ter that fights ex­trem­ist mes­sag­ing from the Is­lamic State group and oth­ers, and she has a seat on the U.S. Agency for Global Me­dia that over­sees gov­ern­ment broad­cast net­works such as Voice of Amer­ica.

Just 18 months ago, she wasn’t even in gov­ern­ment.

Nauert was a break­ing news an­chor on “Fox & Friends,” when she was tapped to be the face and voice of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s for­eign pol­icy. With a master’s de­gree from Columbia Univer­sity’s Grad­u­ate School of Jour­nal­ism, she had moved to Fox from ABC News, where she was a gen­eral as­sign­ment re­porter. She hadn’t spe­cial­ized in for­eign pol­icy or in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions.

Shut out from the top by Tiller­son and his in­ner cir­cle, Nauert de­vel­oped re­la­tion­ships with ca­reer diplo­mats. Barred from trav­el­ing with Tiller­son, she em­barked on her own over­seas trips, vis­it­ing Bangladesh and Myan­mar last year to see the plight of Ro­hingya Mus­lims, and then Is­rael after a planned stop in Syria was scrapped. All the while, she stayed in the good graces of the White House, even as Tiller­son was in­creas­ingly on the outs.

White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders de­scribed Nauert in March as “a team player” and “a strong as­set for the ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

LIU JIE / XIN­HUA / ZUMA PRESS

For­mer Fox News an­chor and cur­rent State Depart­ment spokes­woman Heather Nauert quickly as­cended to her new post­ing.

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