President Trump’s pick to be the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Heather Nauert, withdrew her nomination on Saturday to avoid a scandal over her employment of a foreign nanny who was not authorized to work in the U.S., according to Bloomberg. The State Department, where Nauert served as a spokeswoman before being tapped to replace Nikki Haley at the U.N., announced Nauert’s withdrawal on Saturday night, but neither it nor she publicly acknowledged the work visa issue as the reason. Nauert instead claimed that she was withdrawing to spare her family the “grueling” nomination process.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, Nauert’s real nanny issue was seen as a political liability amid President Trump’s admittedly fake national emergency over border security — though the former Fox News anchor’s lack of relevant diplomacy experience was also bound to be a problem had the confirmation process gone forward.
Nauert disclosed the transgression when filing paperwork for the U.N. role, but didn’t realize “how tough it was going to make” her confirmation, a source told CNN. She had paid back taxes for the nanny, who was in the country legally but not authorized to work, only not on time.
Since this is the Trump administration, there was also a question as to whether or not Nauert had ever really been nominated. Trump said he had done that in early December, but the president says a lot of things, and the White House never officially submitted her name to the Senate for the role. Instead, it’s likely that Nauert was not properly vetted before Trump felt the need to make his announcement. The nanny issue apparently wasn’t disclosed or discovered when Nauert was made a State Department spokeswoman in 2017, but that role requires less security clearance than the U.N. ambassadorship does.
It’s not yet clear if the scandal will be the end of Nauert service in the Trump administration. The State Department did not comment as to whether or not she would return to her job there, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wished her “nothing but the best in all of her future endeavors and know that she will continue to be a great representative of this nation in whatever role she finds herself.”
If Nauert does return to the State Department, she’ll hardly be the only person in the anti-immigrant Trump administration who has previously employed undocumented or unauthorized immigrants. Leadership on that front starts at the very top, as the Trump Corporation has recently fired numerous longtime workers from at least five of President Trump’s clubs and resorts after the company finally got around to conducting a substantive audit of its employees work documentation almost two years into Trump’s presidency. Some of those fired Latin American workers have come forward to claim that their managers — and most likely the president and his family members — knew they were undocumented. Managers looked the other way, the workers have told the Washington Post and New York Times, and sometimes even helped them evade detection and/or obtain new false documents. Many of the workers had been employed at the Trump properties for a decade or longer, but were nonetheless cast out during Trump’s recent government shutdown over border wall funding.
At Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night, after a day of national emergency golfing at his club in West Palm Beach, Florida, President Trump reportedly began discussing alternative nominees for the U.N. role. Those candidates may include some of the officials Nauert originally beat out for the job, including U.S. Ambassador to France Jamie McCourt, the former co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers; U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft, a businesswoman and longtime GOP donor whose husband is a coal-mining executive, and U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a former U.N. spokesman and Fox News contributor who has been lionized by many Trump allies for his combative stances toward Angela Merkel and Iran, as well as his friendliness with members of Germany’s anti-immigration right.