Heather Nauert Withdraws As U.N. Ambassador Nominee
Two months after being named, Heather Nauert withdrew her name as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations due to a 'Nannygate' problem.
Just two months after being selected by Donald Trump to replace Nikki Haley, former Fox news presenter and State Department press spokesperson Heather Nauert has withdrawn her name from consideration as Ambassador to the United Nations:
PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump’s pick to serve as ambassador to the United Nations withdrew from consideration on Saturday, citing family concerns.
His intended nominee, Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman at the State Department since 2017, said in a statement that “the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration.”
Ms. Nauert dropped from the running because she had a nanny who was in the United States legally but did not have the proper work visa, according to people familiar with the process.
Ms. Nauert, a former “Fox & Friends” host, was selected by Mr. Trump in December to succeed Nikki R. Haley, and she initially declined when approached about the position. But Mr. Trump was adamant that she accept when he could find no one else to take the post, according to people involved in the process.
One person familiar with the current discussions said that Kelly Knight Craft, the ambassador to Canada, was being discussed as a possibility for the role. Others said that another name being floated was Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany who recently spent time with a United States delegation that included Ivanka Trump.
Although Mr. Trump had announced Ms. Nauert as his nominee for the ambassadorship, she had not been formally nominated. Her nomination was proceeding without a completed background check, according to two administration officials, and the State Department had not submitted the necessary paperwork to the Senate, raising questions about the delay among Republican Senate staff aides.
Some members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had expressed reservations in private about her candidacy, said Brett Bruen, a former diplomat and global engagement official in the Obama administration. The members had questions about whether she had the experience and expertise to deal with counterparts from other countries, especially ambassadors from Russia and China, the two main rivals of the United States on the United Nations Security Council.
More from The Hill:
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert withdrew her name from consideration for the nomination of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations on Saturday.
The State Department made the announcement in a release.
I am grateful to President Trump and Secretary Pompeo for the trust they have placed in me for considering me for the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,” Nauert wrote Saturday. “However, the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration.”
It wasn’t clear from the release whether Nauert would continue on serving as the State Department’s spokeswoman.
“Heather Nauert has performed her duties as a senior member of my team with unequalled [sic] excellence,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added in the press release.
A State Department spokesperson said the department had nothing more to add about future personnel changes, and referred back to the the statement released by the agency.
“Her personal decision today to withdraw her name from consideration to become the nominee for United States Ambassador to the United Nations is a decision for which I have great respect,” Pompeo added. “I wish Heather nothing but the best in all of her future endeavors and know that she will continue to be a great representative of this nation in whatever role she finds herself.”
Sources familiar with Nauert’s bid to represent the U.S. at the United Nations told The New York Times that her withdrawal centered around her employment of a nanny who was in the country legally but was working without proper authorization for employment in the U.S.
In some sense, the Nauert withdrawal is reminiscent of what happened to President Clinton’s choices to serve as Attorney General in the early days of his Administration. Initially, the former President had selected corporate lawyer Zoe Baird, but she had to withdraw from consideration when it was revealed that she had hired an illegal immigrant as a household worker. To replace Baird, Clinton turned to U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood, but she too was forced to withdraw when it was revealed that she too had hired undocumented workers to work in her home. Inevitably, this controversy came to be known as “Nannygate,” and it led Clinton to select Miami prosecutor Janet Reno, who went on the serve as Attorney General for the remaining balance of Clinton’s Presidency. In Nauert’s case, it appears that the person she employed was in the country legally but did not have the proper work authorization.
To be honest, I’m not sure that what amounts to a paperwork error should have been considered a disqualifying problem for Nauert. Unlike Baird and Wood, she was not being appointed to a law enforcement or national security position. Moreover, if Republicans had wanted to confirm her, she could have easily been confirmed with a simple majority. This leads to the question of whether or not there might have been other reasons why Nauert’s nomination might have been in question. She had no real foreign policy experience, although that was true of Nikki Haley as well, as well as several other Trump Administration nominees. That being said, Nauert’s previous experience consisted of being a Fox News news reader and a State Department spokesperson. Haley at least had experience as a legislator and Chief Executive. It’s possible that Nauert’s lack of foreign policy experience, and her otherwise sparse resume, could have led even Republicans to object to her nomination. It may also be why the Trump Administration never formally submitted her name to the Senate for confirmation.
As the above article notes, the leading candidate for the United Nations position now that Nauert is off the list is apparently Kelly Knight Craft, the current U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Prior to this appointment, Clark had served as an alternate delegate to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, during which time her primary responsibility was advising the then Ambassador on U.S. policy in Africa. During the time she served in this position, which was after current National Security Adviser John Bolton had left office, the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations was held by Alejandro Daniel Wolff and Zalmay Khalilzad. Clark is better known, though, a s being a top fundraiser for Republican candidates for office along with her husband Joe Craft. Exactly how that qualifies her for a position such as Ambassador to the United Nations, or Canada for that matter, is your guess as well as mine.