In less than two years, Heather Nauert has gone from Fox & Friends anchor to State Department spokesperson to undersecretary of state for public affairs and now to U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. President Trump announced Friday that he has chosen Nauert to replace the departing Nikki Haley.
Nauert got generally high marks in her role at State, even from many of the reporters who covered her—a rarity for Trump administration spokespeople. But she’s heading into a very different role, and her résumé will raise some eyebrows as she heads to the Senate for confirmation to a position generally held by experienced diplomats or career politicians.
The general consensus is that the Nauert pick indicates the Trump administration’s lack of interest in the U.N. and its view that the ambassador is more of a spokesperson than a policymaker. And given that the U.S. has already pulled out of institutions ranging from the Human Rights Council to the Paris climate accord to UNESCO, the U.S. ambassador will have limited influence no matter who it is.
On the other hand, increasingly influential national security adviser John Bolton, a former ambassador to the body himself, takes the U.N. and its associated organizations extremely seriously. He’s deeply hostile to these international institutions, which he sees as dangerous intrusions on American sovereignty. They often seem to be his central concern.
Bolton has reportedly taken a strong interest and prominent role in the minutiae of U.N. policymaking on issues like peacekeeping and diminished the role of Haley, who until Bolton’s arrival had enjoyed substantial autonomy. Haley had cultivated her independence from the White House and occasionally took public positions that were out of step with—and sometimes at odds with—the president’s, particularly on Russia policy.
Nauert seems less likely to freelance in her role, which means that Bolton’s influence, and his crusade against the world’s multilateral institutions, is only likely to expand.