Donald Trump nominates Heather Nauert as US ambassador to UN

The former reporter spent the last year and a half as the spokesperson for the US State Department. If confirmed, she would replace the outgoing Nikki Haley, who said she would leave the position at the end of the year.

President Donald Trump has nominated US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to be the United States' next ambassador to the United Nations.

If confirmed by the US Senate, Nauert, 48, would replace outgoing Ambassador Nikki Haley, who announced in October that she would step down from the post at the end of 2018.

Read more: Opinion: Nikki Haley, Donald Trump's global enabler, was no moderate

Trump told reporters in November that Nauert, who does not have any prior political or policy-making experience, was "under very serious consideration" for the position. 

Nature and Environment | 05.12.2018

"She's excellent, she's been with us a long time, she's been a supporter for a long time," he said at the time.

Trump is reportedly weighing other staff changes before the end of the year, including replacing White House chief of staff John Kelly. 

Nauert joined the State Department in April 2017, after spending more than 20 years as a journalist for ABC and Fox News. She worked under two secretaries of state, Rex Tillerson and current boss Mike Pompeo, and was designated acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs from March to October 2018.

Haley has been the US ambassador to the UN for the entirety of Trump's presidency. During her tenure, the US has pulled out of the UN Human Rights Council and has cut funding for the UN's refugee agency.

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Daughter of immigrants

Nikki Haley was born Nimrata Randhawa to an immigrant family from India. She studied accounting at Clemson University and continued working at her family's clothing business, where she helped as a teenager. She is married to Michael Haley, an officer in the National Guard.

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Breaking the glass ceiling

In 2011, Haley took over as the governor of South Carolina after having served three terms in the state House of Representatives. Haley was the first woman and the first member of an ethnic minority group to be elected as the governor of the state.

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Confederate flag

During her second term as governor, Haley shot to prominence when she led an effort to remove the Confederate flag from the state Capitol grounds. She had earlier dismissed calls to remove it but changed her mind after a 2015 massacre at a black church in Charleston.

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Trump critic

Often referred to as a moderate Republican, Haley was one of the harshest critics of US President Donald Trump during his bid for the White House. She criticized Trump for not speaking out against white supremacists, his stance on immigration and his demeanor. She supported Senator Marco Rubio of Florida during the Republican primaries.

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Olive branch

When Trump named her as his to become ambassador to the United Nations, it came as a surprise to many. The two had sparred bitterly in the run up to the presidential election. Some saw it as an olive branch from Trump.

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Outspoken envoy

Haley was outspoken and forceful during her brief stint at the UN. She joined her boss in calling out Iran and North Korea on numerous occasions. Under her tenure, the US pulled out of UNESCO and the Human Rights Council. But she did not agree with Trump on some issues, including Russia sanctions and the significance of the world body itself.

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Future Republican presidential candidate?

Haley, a rising star in the Republican Party, is often mentioned as a possible candidate for the 2020 presidential elections. But she has said she would not be running for the top job in 2020, when Trump plans to run for a second term.

dv/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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