Trump picks new UN ambassador to replace staunchly pro-Israel Nikki Haley


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Heather Nauert, who as State Department spokeswoman likened the U.S.-Israel relationship to her friendship with a junior high school pal, will be nominated to succeed Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Nauert, a longtime Fox News Channel commentator, became the State Department spokeswoman two years ago. If confirmed, she would be replacing in Haley a darling of the centrist and right-wing pro-Israel community for her robust defense of Israel and the policies of its government.

Little is known about Nauert’s Israel record. Asked to defend a decision by her then-boss, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to skip Israel during a Middle East tour, she spoke of U.S.-Israel ties this way:

“I kind of liken that to my relationship with my best friend from junior high school, Julie,” she said in February. “She lives in the Midwest. Every time I go to the Midwest, I don’t get to see my friend Julie. Every time that Secretary Tillerson is going to go to the Middle East, he’s not going to be able to hit every single country. But there is no doubt in the mind of the Israeli Government officials or our government officials that our bond is strong.”

On Friday, President Donald Trump said he would nominate Nauert for the post and she would work with Haley.

“She’s very talented and very smart, very quick and I think she will be a great ambassador to the United Nations,” the president said in an impromptu news conference on the White House lawn.

Recommended from JTA