Washington, February 18: In a surprise move, State Department spokesperson and former Fox News Anchor Heather Nauert has withdrawn her nomination to be U.S.’s next ambassador to the United Nations. Nauert was nominated by US President Donald Trump to replace the current UN Ambassador for U.S. Nikki Haley.
Nauert, 48, a former Fox News anchor, issued a statement on Saturday citing family reasons for her decision. "I am grateful to President (Donald) Trump and Secretary (Mike) Pompeo for the trust they placed in me for considering me for the position of US Ambassador to the United Nations," Nauert said. "However, the past two months have been gruelling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration,” she said.
Nauret said her two years with the administration had been "one of the highest honours of my life and I will always be grateful to the President, the Secretary, and my colleagues at the State Department for their support”.
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said President Trump will make an announcement about a new nominee soon.
Pompeo said she had performed her duties as a senior member of his team "with unequalled excellence". "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 said.
President Trump nominated Nauert for the top diplomatic position at the UN in November, weeks after Nikki Haley announced her resignation. "She's very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she's going to be respected by all," the president said at the time.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Nauert had "performed her duties as a senior member of my team with -excellence" and that she will "continue to be a great representative of this nation".
Some media reports however suggest that a development during Nauert’s background check before she takes up her post has led her to make this decision. Bloomberg reported that Nauert had employed an immigrant nanny who was in the U.S. legally but did not have the correct work visa.
Nauert has also faced severe criticism from the Democratic Party as many believe that she does not have the requisite credentials or experience to represent American interests at the world stage. In the past, the position of US Ambassador to the UN has been held by some of the top American political leaders and diplomats including former president George H W Bush. "She has no foreign policy experience that I can deduce, and being a spokesperson is different than being the chief diplomat of the United States at a world body like the UN," Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had said.
Many of her supporters argued she's more than qualified for the role, noting her practice in messaging the Trump administration's foreign policy for nearly two years. (With PTI & Agency inputs)