Heather Nauert has decades of experience as a television journalist, months of experience as government spokesperson, and no experience whatsoever in the field of diplomacy.
And Donald Trump (reportedly) wants her to be America’s next ambassador to the United Nations.
According to ABC News, the president has offered the former Fox & Friends host Nikki Haley’s old job (CNN and The Wall Street Journal separately reported Thursday afternoon that Nauert is Trump’s top choice for the position). Since the spring of 2017, Nauert has served as the State Department’s spokesperson. In that time, she has not always demonstrated full command of all relevant subject matter; in October of last year, she tweeted that North Korea “will not obtain a nuclear capability. Whether through diplomacy or force is up to the regime,” (a promise that the Trump administration would need a time machine to keep). Nor has Nauert evinced a commitment to the values that are supposed to ungird the United Nations, and American global leadership, more broadly. Back in August, the Canadian government called on Saudi Arabia to release women’s-rights activists whom Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had jailed. The Saudis responded by ostensibly threatening to orchestrate a 9/11–style attack against Canadian civilians.
When asked to take a position on this dispute — which is to say, on the question of whether Canada deserved to be threatened with a terrorist attack for asking Riyadh to end the imprisonment of women who had protested for the right to drive — Nauert replied, “It’s up for the government of Saudi Arabia and the Canadians to work this out. Both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together. We can’t do it for them.”
But Nauert has proven herself an unshakably loyal surrogate for Donald J. Trump. In fact, her former boss Rex Tillerson reportedly complained to allies that Nauert was “more loyal to the West Wing than the State Department.” And so, Trump wants her to represent the United States on the world stage.
Which, as the Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng argues, is probably fine. Nauert might not be conventionally qualified for a top diplomatic role — but the president is even less so. And anyhow, Nauert appears to have all the skills necessary to do the job that Nikki Haley was doing — which, by all appearances, consisted of little more than delivering indignant, Youtube-ready speeches about why Iran’s affronts to international law are unacceptable, while Israel’s are actually good.