Washington: US President Donald Trump has said that Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the State Department, is “under very serious consideration” for the post of the country’s ambassador to the UN.
At the White House, Trump said, “She is under very serious consideration” to replace Nikki Haley for the job, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.
“She’s excellent. She’s been with us for a very long time. She’s been a supporter for a long time,” Trump said. “We’ll probably make a decision next week,” he added.
US media outlets reported a few days ago that Nauert had been offered the job, but it remained unclear whether she would take it.
Reuters quoted a source familiar with the selection process as saying that Nauert was “at the top of the list,” while Bloomberg reported that Trump met with Nauert on Monday. Nauert has not attended any press briefing recently, and her deputy Robert Palladino has chaired three briefings this week.
About the nomination on Thursday, Palladino said, “Any announcement like that is the prerogative of the White House.”
Nauert, 48, who used to be an anchor at Fox News Channel, has worked for the State Department as a spokeswoman since April 2017. She was named acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs earlier this year.
Haley announced earlier in October that she would step down from her position by the end of the year, in need for a break after decades of public office.
The appointment of Nauert, if confirmed, would be unorthodox, since that she had no prior political or foreign policy-making experience before joining the State Department. However, Nauert has reportedly gained the trust of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is also close to Trump’s daughter and son-in-law.
The US media have complained about the falling frequency of the State Department’s press briefings under Nauert. “In keeping with broader administration practice, Nauert has cut back State Department briefings from almost every day to, at most, twice a week,” Bloomberg wrote.
(With inputs from IANS)