Donald Trump has a habit of selecting unusual people for positions of power. He gave power over the Veterans Administration (VA) to two members of his Mar-a-Lago club. POTUS has chosen people for cabinet positions who have a history of condemning all that would fall beneath the scope of their new influence. Still, his latest choice was the strangest of all.
Former Fox News host and State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement withdrawing from any consideration for the United Nations (UN) ambassadorship position. Although the president had announced that he had chosen her for the job, his formal nomination had not yet arrived at the Senate.
Trump tweeted that he had chosen Nauert on December 7, which was well before the White House career people could thoroughly vet her. In fact, the Office of Government Ethics’ paperwork she filled out had not even been reviewed prior to that tweet.
In her withdrawal statement from the State Department, Nauert wrote, according to CNN:
‘I am grateful to President Trump and Secretary Pompeo for the trust they placed in me for considering me for the position of US Ambassador to the United Nations. However, the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration.’
Nauert continued, noting that serving in this administration was one of her “highest honors:”
‘Serving in the Administration for the past two years has been one of the highest honors of my life and I will always be grateful to the President, the Secretary, and my colleagues at the State Department for their support.’
Nauert was the State Department spokesperson for nearly two years, beginning in April 2017. During that time, she hired a nanny who was in the U.S. “legally but not legally allowed to work.” In addition, the nanny did not pay taxes while she worked for Nauert. Apparently, the State Department spokesperson did not report this information until she was selected for the UN ambassadorship, according to CNN’s source.
The source, who was helping Nauert prepare for the Senate hearing on her nomination, said the spokesperson did disclose the nanny in the UN position’s paperwork. The source also commented that Nauert decided to withdraw from consideration:
‘…(because) she was not aware of how tough it (the nanny’s employment) was going to make it.’
The nanny paid her back taxes, so White House staff believe they could weather the situation at first, but later Nauert agreed with them that she should not accept the nomination.
Her withdrawal was a surprise to some of the White House officials, but they assumed it was a bureaucratic holdup. Indeed, Nauert had been answering emails in her official State Department spokesperson role until very recently. She is not expected to return to her spokesperson job.
CNN had reported earlier that the White House, Capitol Hill, and the United Nations felt a lack of urgency on quickly confirming Nauert. At first, White House officials blamed the government shutdown. After the government re-opened, no one would admit that nominating her was a priority.
A senior diplomatic source told CNN:
‘There have been predictions of a stormy ride in confirmation, with many on the Hill saying this was a job done by Henry Cabot Lodge, Madeleine Albright, Daniel Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Richard Holbrooke, Bill Richardson … and now a Fox News presenter?’
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement from the State Department about Nauert:
‘Heather Nauert has performed her duties as a senior member of my team with unequalled excellence. Her personal decision today to withdraw her name from consideration to become the nominee for United States Ambassador to the United Nations is a decision for which I have great respect. I wish Heather 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.’
The President is considering other candidates at this time.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.