Washington's incoming United Nations ambassador sign of declining diplomatic clout

Sergio Conner
December 8, 2018

Just 18 months ago, she was not in government. He said he thought she would be "respected by all".

That role gave her responsibilities far beyond the news conferences she held in the State Department briefing room.

According to CAIR, while at Fox News, Nauert interviewed "notorious Islamophobes", including Robert Spencer, Frank Gaffney and Nonie Darwish. The president both denies watching hours of Fox and other networks each day and says publicly that he "watches all the shows".

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) slammed Nauert's nomination on Friday, calling her "unqualified and Islamophobic".

Conservative lawmakers railed against former President Barack Obama for, as they put it, running foreign policy and national security out of the Oval Office.

She does not have prior political or policy-making experience. She has been chief spokeswoman for the State Department since April past year, having been poached from Fox.

Schaefer notes, though, that Trump already has a team in place that he relies on for help in crafting foreign policy -Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Under Tillerson, Nauert grew frustrated at not having close access to her immediate boss and had been seen as quitting to return to NY, where her family has remained.

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Pompeo was scathing about the United Nations in a speech this week in Brussels. The job of United Nations ambassador is very different, he said, and usually requires foreign policy or diplomatic expertise or both.

"If I were the State Department's spokesperson, on an official trip to learn more about the dark, dubious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of a U.S. resident, I probably would have skipped the tourist-in-Riyadh photos". She is clearly not qualified for this job.

Trump is expected to make the announcement on Friday, the reports said.

While Nauert must still be confirmed by the US Senate, Benjamin said she will easily get the approval of the Republican-controlled chamber. And that's the point: Trump values how his messages and policy decisions are explained by his subordinates, and has said his instincts and intellect are better than most.

Others, including former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, criticized the choice.

Trump has previously said that Nauert, a former Fox News Channel reporter who had little foreign policy experience before becoming State Department spokeswoman, was under serious consideration to replace Nikki Haley, who announced in October that she would step down at the end of this year.

Nikki Haley had announced in October that she was leaving the post by the end of the year. "He brings a level of stability and knowledge to the Justice Department that I think will be very powerful". She is a strong Trump supporter. Assuming Trump runs for re-election in 2020, that would be the next year of a truly open Republican primary.

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