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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Trump considering lower profile women ambassadors to replace Nikki Haley

The list now includes the current US ambassadors to Canada and France, Kelly Craft and Jamie McCourt

Mr Trump wants a woman to replace Ms Haley to counter a decline in female support for the Republicans. EPA
Mr Trump wants a woman to replace Ms Haley to counter a decline in female support for the Republicans. EPA

Ten days after her resignation, the Trump administration has pivoted its search to lower profile women diplomats and people in the business arena to replace outgoing US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

Two sources with knowledge of the process have told The National that Mr Trump wants a woman for the job to counter a decline in female support for the Republican Party, and compensate for a shrinking number of women in his cabinet.

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With the departure of Ms Haley, only two women will be left in the cabinet, education secretary Betsy Devos and transportation secretary Elaine Chao.

The same sources have indicated that the Trump administration is now mainly looking at three women candidates for the position, they are:

US ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft: she is a former businesswomen who also served in the George W Bush administration as a delegate to the United Nations. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report last week that she is being considered for the position.

US ambassador to France, Jamie McCourt: she was confirmed to the position last November and is also the United States Permanent Observer to Council of Europe. Ms McCourt comes from a business background as well, and was a former executive.

Nancy Brinker: a former US ambassador and a prominent name in the Republican Party both as a former George W Bush official, and as founder of the Susan Komen organisation to fight breast cancer. CNN first reported Ms Brinker’s name last week, and sources confirm she is being considered by the White House for the position.

Part of the debate, sources said, is now also about the nature of the position and whether to keep it as a cabinet level or demote it to an ambassador position under US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. US national security adviser John Bolton who has clashed with Ms Haley and wants to exert more influence on foreign policy supports demoting the position.

This could explain why another prominent name that was being considered, Dina Habib Powell, has taken her name out of the running last week. Sources said that two of the three women that are being considered would be open to serving as non-cabinet ambassadors.

Other names being discussed for the position are, according to Foreign Policy magazine: acting under secretary of state for public affairs Heather Nauert; and current US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman. Sources said former senator Joseph Lieberman is still in the mix, but his stock has dropped given Mr Trump’s preference to pick a woman. White House chief of staff John Kelly is reportedly supporting Ms Craft’s nomination.

Ms Haley is expected to leave her position by the end of the year, and the White House is planning to nominate a successor by the end of the month. Congress would then have to confirm the nomination.