Israel welcomes nomination of Heather Nauert as next US envoy to the UN

“Ms. Nauert has stood by the State of Israel in her previous positions, and I have no doubt that the cooperation between our two countries will continue to strengthen,” Israeli Ambassador Danon said. 

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon welcomed the nomination of State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert as the next U.S. envoy to the United Nations.

“Ms. Nauert has stood by the State of Israel in her previous positions, and I have no doubt that the cooperation between our two countries will continue to strengthen as ambassador to the UN. In the past two years, we have worked closely with Ambassador Nikki Haley to change the hostile spirit in the UN, which has led to unprecedented achievements. Ambassador Haley will always be a true friend of the State of Israel.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Heather Nauert, a 48-year-old former Fox News reporter, will replace Nikki Haley. Nauert had little foreign policy experience before taking the podium as spokeswoman for the State Department.

Nauert’s confirmation could hinge on her performance at the hearing. Still, she stands a good chance of approval because after the new Congress begins in January, Republicans will have a 53-47 vote majority over Democrats in the Senate.

In announcing his decision on Friday, President Donald Trump said Nauert was “very talented, very smart, very quick.” He said he thought she would be “respected by all.”

Others, including former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, criticized the choice. Nauert’s job as spokeswoman at State is “to read talking points and explain policy,” McFaul tweeted. The job of U.N. ambassador is very different, he said, and usually requires foreign policy or diplomatic expertise or both.

“I’ve known Heather for many years. She is a fine and capable person,” Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a statement, adding that she had the confidence of Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Trump is downgrading the ambassador’s position to a sub-Cabinet-level post. That means Nauert could be overshadowed by Pompeo or Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, who had the U.N. job in 2005 and 2006. She also would be going up against foreign counterparts like the U.N. representatives from Russia and China, who each have decades of experience in diplomacy.

Nauert thanked Trump and said she was humbled at being chosen. “If confirmed, I look forward to continuing the outstanding job Ambassador Haley has done representing your administration and the American people.”

Haley herself arrived at the United Nations with little foreign policy experience beyond promoting international investments in South Carolina. However, she quickly learned key issues and how the U.N. operates.

Because of her work at the State Department, Nauert would have the advantage of already knowing the Trump administration’s position on all major global issues. But without being a member of the Cabinet, she wouldn’t have the same independence that Haley has enjoyed.

Pompeo: ‘I have great confidence’ in Nauert

Pompeo tweeted that Nauert has traveled with him since he took the helm of the State Department. “I have great confidence in her. Heather plays a key role in advancing U.S. foreign policy & I look forward to her speedy confirmation.”

She also would arrive at a time when Trump and members of his foreign policy team have all displayed sometimes open contempt for the United Nations and its affiliated agencies.

In its first two years, the Trump administration has pulled out of the U.N. Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization UNESCO, the U.N. Human Rights Council and threatened to leave the International Postal Union. It has cut off contributions for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and U.N. population fund. It has also sought to reduce funding for U.N. peacekeeping operations.

Nauert, a native of Rockford, Illinois, also worked at State as the acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.

As a New York-based anchor and correspondent at Fox News, Nauert oversaw breaking news, anchored programs, covered global and domestic crises and interviewed senior elected and military officials.

Nauert, who also was a network correspondent for ABC News, is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Mount Vernon College in Washington.