Nikki Haley accepted the job of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations when, as she tells it, Donald Trump assured her that she wouldn’t have to be a “talking head.” Now the president plans to replace her with a woman once described as “the new face of the talking head,” someone who quite literally speaks for the Trump administration.
On Friday, Trump revealed that he will nominate Heather Nauert, the State Department spokesperson, to succeed Haley, who in October announced that she would leave her post at the end of the year. Nauert is “very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she’s going to be respected by all,” Trump told reporters.
Early on in his presidency, Trump’s eclectic mix of deputies often appeared to be executing multiple foreign policies at once. But Nauert’s appointment is an indication that Trump is now seeking out advisers who, no matter their personal views, cohere to the agenda of a president who seems to increasingly know what he wants and how he wants it done.
If confirmed by the Senate, Nauert will come to the position with far less government experience than Haley, who had previously served in South Carolina’s legislature and as governor of the state. (It’s unclear at this point whether the UN posting will remain a Cabinet-level position, something Haley made a condition for accepting the job, or if it will be tucked below the secretary of state, as a number of previous administrations have done.) Nauert will likely face a bruising confirmation hearing, as Democratic senators scrutinize her qualifications to be one of America’s top diplomats.