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Trump nominates ex-Fox News anchor Nauert as UN envoy

US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, pictured May 2018, says that the US "continues to support Georgia's sovereignty" as of the 2008 ceasefire
Mandel Ngan (AFP/File)
Trump also nominated William Barr as new attorney general, a post he held in the late Bush's administration

US President Donald Trump nominated State Department spokeswoman and former Fox TV news anchor Heather Nauert Friday as ambassador to the United Nations.

Trump told reporters that Nauert, who is in line to take over from Nikki Haley, had proven herself as a "very talented, very smart" member of his administration.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon on Friday welcomed Neurat's candidacy for the post currently held by Nikki Haley, who has worked closely with Danon, largely aligning the US with Israel in the UN.

"Neurat stood alongside the State of Israel in its previous positions and I have no doubt that the cooperation between the two countries will also continue to strengthen during her service," Danon said.

The Israeli ambassador thanked outgoing Ambassador Nikki Haley and said that "in the past two years we have succeeded in close cooperation to change the hostile spirit in the UN and lead to unprecedented achievements."

Nauert, 48, had been touted for the post since October when Haley announced that she was stepping down.

Trump also nominated William Barr, a conservative lawyer who was attorney general in the administration of the late George H.W. Bush, to lead the Department of Justice.

Barr would replaced Jeff Sessions, who Trump forced to resign last month amid rising pressure on the White House from the Russia collusion investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Barr is "A terrific man, a terrific person," Trump said.

"He was my first choice from day one.... respected by Republicans, respected by Democrats," he said.

From Fox anchor to UN envoy, a meteoric rise

Less than two years ago, Heather Nauert was working as an anchor on Donald Trump's favorite news show, "Fox & Friends."

After Trump was inaugurated as president in January 2017, Nauert became -- with no experience in government, foreign policy or politics -- the spokeswoman at the State Department.

When Trump fired media-shy Texas oilman Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state in March via tweet -- their relationship by then bordered on poisonous -- Nauert saw her influence grow under successor Mike Pompeo, whose combative style is more in tune with the president.

She also got a major promotion, becoming the acting under-secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, the fourth highest official at the State Department.

Overnight she took charge of overseeing communication from US diplomatic missions around the world as well as countering propaganda from the Islamic State movement and other foreign adversaries.

If confirmed by the Senate, the 48-year-old Nauert would replace Nikki Haley, who announced her resignation in October amid speculation of future political plans.

Haley similarly had little foreign policy experience when appointed, although she had a national name as the governor of South Carolina.

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