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Trump picks Nauert to be UN ambassador

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is his choice to succeed Nikki Haley as US ambassador to the Unit...

Posted: Dec 7, 2018 10:17 AM
Updated: Dec 7, 2018 11:15 AM

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is his choice to succeed Nikki Haley as US ambassador to the United Nations.

Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Trump said Nauert had done a 'great job' at the State Department.

'She's very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she's going to be respected by all,' Trump said.

A senior administration official told CNN that Nauert attended Thursday night's Hanukkah party at the White House and Trump called her in to the Oval Office afterward.

United Nations Secretary General spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told CNN 'we look forward to working with her [Nauert] when she assumes her functions.'

'The UN Secretary-General had a good working relationship with Nikki Haley and looks forward to her successor,' he said.

Nauert, a former Fox News host who arrived at the State Department in 2017, would be a relatively inexperienced newcomer in one of the most high-profile positions in US diplomacy. Her nomination sets the stage for a potentially tough Senate confirmation hearing, where Democrats will likely grill Nauert on her qualifications for the position.

In an administration rife with internal conflict and deeply distrustful of the UN, Nauert's nomination would place a less senior person at the international agency than Haley, who reportedly sparred with other administration officials.

Nauert's appointment would realign power dynamics within the President's national security team. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told aides he wants the UN position downgraded from the Cabinet-level job Haley had insisted on, an official familiar with his remark has told CNN. Elevating Haley to a Cabinet-level post broke with the tradition of previous Republican administrations.

National security adviser John Bolton has been said to want the role downgraded as well, according to people familiar with his thinking. A former UN ambassador himself, Bolton has taken an interest in some UN matters, such as the International Criminal Court.

The shift means Nauert would wield less clout than her predecessor, both at the UN and within the administration, and as a result, would pose nowhere near the challenge to Bolton or Pompeo.

'If (Nauert) is kept outside the Cabinet, foreign diplomats will read that as a concrete signal ... that the post is being partly downgraded at the behest of Bolton and Pompeo. In a sense, it's a return to a norm,' Richard Gowan, senior fellow at the UN University, New York, told CNN, adding that Haley was considered to be one of a few standout exceptions.

Qualifications questioned

But even if the position is downgraded, critics say Nauert's experience pales in comparison to others who have held the job.

'This is extraordinary. Especially in the footsteps of the former ambassadors: Madeleine Albright, Susan Rice,' one senior diplomat told CNN about Nauert's nomination.

Peter Yeo, Senior VP of the UN Foundation, told CNN that 'Nauert's selection doesn't fit the traditional mold for a US Ambassador to the UN.'

'She has been a communicator more than a policy person, so she'll be quickly put to the test with the on-the-spot negotiations required at the UN. Although the position won't be Cabinet level, it remains unclear whether she'll be a separate center of power on UN issues in the Nikki Haley fashion,' he said.

Experience matters less to the President, an avid fan of Fox News, than Nauert's loyalty to the White House, the fact that she's a woman and her ability to be a polished proxy on television, according to sources familiar with his thinking.

While Nauert struggled during the tenure of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- so ostracized from his inner circle that she considered quitting -- she could now bring to the UN close ties to the White House and a good working relationship with Pompeo.

During Pompeo's tenure, she has been able to travel on official trips -- something Tillerson blocked her from doing -- and rose to temporarily hold the position of acting under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.

A senior administration official said that Nauert has 'extensive experience in this administration in foreign policy and in representing the President's goals.'

In a statement Friday, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon said he is confident Nauert will serve as a strong successor to Haley and believed her to be a strong supporter of Israel.

Despite Nauert's TV savvy, however, current and former colleagues wonder if she will be prepared or equipped to navigate the gritty behind-the-scenes work of UN negotiations.

She is also taking the position amid a roster of thorny global challenges, ranging from North Korea's nuclear program to Yemen's famine and the growing divide between the US and its closest allies over the Iran nuclear deal, climate change and other issues.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
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Lamar221238
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Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
Panola169038
Leflore165187
Sunflower159749
Warren153655
Monroe147372
Pontotoc145819
Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
Pike137756
Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
Grenada121138
Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
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George97718
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Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
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Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
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Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
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Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
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