Three months after rumors (later confirmed) that State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert would be President Trump’s pick to replace Nikki Haley as UN ambassador, the former Fox News anchor has suddenly withdrawn from consideration.
As we initially noted in December, Nauert, who came to government from Fox News, served as State Department spokesman for both Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo but has enjoyed a closer relationship with Trump’s second secretary of state than she did Tillerson, who was privately skeptical of her close ties with the West Wing.
Her elevation to a top diplomatic role underscored the importance Trump has placed on having his top aides also serve as television surrogates. Nauert has briefed regularly from the State Department podium and had a long career in television news before that. Still, as a diplomat she lacked experience.
And now, as Reuters reports, citing State Department officials, Nauert has withdrawn from consideration for the top UN role due to family reasons.
“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,” Nauert said in a State Department statement.
The statement did not specify the hardship on her family but the Washington Post said Nauert’s husband and children had remained in New York while she was working in Washington.
Of Nauert’s decision to not take up the UN role, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said:
“Her personal decision today to withdraw her name from consideration to be the nominee for the United States ambassador to the United Nations is a decision for which I have great respect.”
This is another blow for Trump after Dina Powell offered a “not interested” response after reportedly being Trump’s first pick.
The State Department confirmed another nominee would be announced “soon”.