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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Heather Nauert expected to succeed Nikki Haley as US Ambassador to the UN 

State Department spokeswoman could be grilled by the Senate about her thin diplomatic resume

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. AP
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. AP

Almost a month since US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley resigned, Donald Trump is expected to nominate State Department spokeswoman and acting Under Secretary for Public diplomacy Heather Nauert for the job.

Both Fox News and the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Ms Nauert was offered the job, but any official confirmation will have to wait for a statement from the White House.

Ms Nauert, a former Fox News journalist and commentator, met the US President on Monday. Snce that meeting she was believed to be the front-runner for the position.

However, a State Department official contacted by The National could not confirm the reports.

Mr Trump has been keen on nominating a woman to succeed Ms Haley and has considered a list of candidates that include US ambassadors to Canada and France Kelly Craft and Jamie McCourt, as well as former ambassador Nancy Brinker. Former White House official Dina Habib Powell withdrew her name early in the process.

Ms Nauert may not have a thick diplomatic resume and her background is mostly in media and communications, but she has good ties to both the State Department and the National Security Council.

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She has a good working relationship with her current boss Mike Pompeo, travelling with him on his last trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey. She has also defended the administration’s policies on Iran, Latin America and Israel, without sounding hawkish or polarising. Ms Haley had previously clashed with National Security Adviser John Bolton, which partially prompted her resignation, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the matter.

Ms Nauert's nomination would need confirmation from the Senate and her thin diplomatic experience will likely be questioned. Another issue surrounding the position would be if Mr Trump chooses to make it a non-cabinet post, hence lowering the profile of any pick. Mr Bolton supports such approach.

If confirmed by the Senate, Ms Nauert would be expected to succeed Ms Haley early next year. Her deputy Robert Paladino has been conducting more of the daily briefings since her name was first mentioned by Foreign Policy for the job.