Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii sharply criticized President Donald Trump’s choice of State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to succeed Nikki Haley as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Hirono said Friday on CNN’s “New Day” that Nauert, who has served in her current position at State since April 2017, lacks the qualifications to be U.N. ambassador.
“I would have difficulty because there are those of us that actually care about people’s experience and qualifications,” Hirono said. “I do not know that being loyal to the president is the uppermost qualification. It is for the president, but it isn’t for me.”
“I think it shows, very clearly, that the president has great difficulty in finding people, not people who are going to kowtow to him, but finding people who actually are experienced and qualified,” she added.
William Barr and Heather Nauert are Trump’s top choices for attorney general and UN ambassador, sources say.
— New Day (@NewDay) December 7, 2018
Hirono further stated she would not be supportive of the Trump administration lowering the ambassadorship to a sub-cabinet level position.
One of Haley’s conditions for taking the post was that she would serve at the cabinet level.
Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts pointed out on “Outnumbered” Friday that the previous three presidential administrations had U.N. ambassadors serving as a sub-cabinet post.
Roberts explained the Trump administration would like to return to that model, with Nauert taking on the day-to-day responsibilities of ambassador, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo being more engaged at the U.N. as the world situation warrants.
Prior to coming to the State Department, Nauert, 48, was a host on “Fox & Friends.”
Both Trump and Pompeo expressed confidence in Nauert taking on the new role.
.@realDonaldTrump: “I want to confirm that Bill Barr … will be nominated for the United States attorney general… Heather Nauert will be nominated. She will work with Nikki Haley to replace Nicki at the United Nations.” pic.twitter.com/D7f0EReVfQ
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) December 7, 2018
“She’s very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she’s going to be respected by all,” the president told reporters at the White House on Friday.
Pompeo tweeted, “Very pleased with @POTUS’ intent to nominate Heather Nauert as @USUN Amb.
“She’s traveled with me since Day One as @UnderSecPD & @statedeptspox. I have great confidence in her. Heather plays a key role in advancing U.S. foreign policy & I look forward to her speedy confirmation.”
RT @USUN: Congratulations to Heather Nauert on her nomination by the President to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. We wish you well and look forward to supporting you through the transition and beyond. 🇺🇸
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) December 7, 2018
Haley offered her well-wishes too, re-tweeting from the U.S. Mission to the U.N. account: “Congratulations to Heather Nauert on her nomination by the President to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. We wish you well and look forward to supporting you through the transition and beyond.”
In addition to expressing her difficulty in supporting Nauert, Hirono also indicated that she would have a “hard time” voting to confirm William Barr as the next attorney general, speculating he would likely try to “cover” for Trump.
Hirono made headlines in September during the confirmation hearing for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, when she said men need to “shut up and step up,” when it came to believing and addressing allegations of sexual misconduct.
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