This development became all but certain earlier in the week. But the president made it official today:
Much of the initial reaction to Nauert’s appointment concerned itself with her extremely limited foreign policy background, and the possibility that her main credential was her experience as anchor on Trump’s very favorite television show, Fox & Friends. But there’s been an interesting subplot as well:
That’s half-right. The position was indeed reduced to sub-Cabinet rank during the George W. Bush administration and restored to Cabinet rank by Obama. Before that, it was a Cabinet position under Reagan and Clinton, but not under Poppy Bush. The first ambassador to the U.N. to serve in a presidential Cabinet was actually Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., under Eisenhower. It is clearly not a partisan tradition. It’s more a matter of the personal clout of the person holding the position, vis-à-vis the nominal figures directing U.S. foreign policy like the secretary of State and the president’s national security adviser — the two people Jonathan Swan cites as insisting on Nauert’s non-Cabinet rank.
The bottom line is that as a two-term governor and national celebrity Nikki Haley was in a position to insist on a seat at the Cabinet table with Trump, and the neophyte Nauert isn’t, which probably helps explain why her State Department boss Pompeo was promoting her candidacy for the gig from the get-go.
Maybe the new ambassador will eventually become a rock star beyond the ranks of Fox News viewers and enhance her own power, so long as she doesn’t undercut the ultimate Boss. But whether it happens or not has nothing to do with some party tradition.