Trump to pick State Department spokeswoman for UN ambassador: Source

Spokesperson Heather Nauert (L) speaks as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a dialogue with reporters in his plane while flying from Panama to Mexico, October 18, 2018. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Washington, DC, USA Dec 07, 2018, 08.12 AM (IST)

President Donald Trump will nominate State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as US ambassador to the United Nations, a source familiar with his decision said on Thursday, tapping someone with no prior policy or political experience to deal with some of the world's thorniest issues.

The decision could be announced as early as Friday, the source said, requesting anonymity.

Nauert, whose nomination would require Senate confirmation, is a former Fox News Channel correspondent and anchor. She became the State Department's spokeswoman in April 2017 and was named earlier this year as the acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.

If confirmed, Nauert, 48, would succeed Nikki Haley, who said in October she would be leaving the UN post at the end of the year.

Nauert and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Nauert, who earlier this year had been considered a possible successor to White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, gained experience on diplomacy by working at the State Department, but she lacks the political and policy credentials of Haley, a former South Carolina governor.

Having the direct support of the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could buttress her image, however, among global diplomats at the United Nations, who have bristled at Trump's "America First" foreign policy.

She will face a variety of challenges if confirmed for the job, including championing US efforts to contain Iran's influence in the Middle East and ensuring the global body maintains tough sanctions on North Korea as Washington tries to negotiate an end to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.