Mon, Feb 18, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Nauert quits as UN pick after nanny issue arises


US Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert speaks at a briefing at the department in Washington on Aug. 9, 2017.

Photo: AP

US Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Saturday said she is withdrawing from consideration as US President Donald Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to the UN.

Nauert’s nomination began to falter after the White House was alerted to a problem in her background: She had in the past employed an immigrant nanny who was in the US legally, but was not authorized to work, people familiar with the matter said.

The statement from Nauert on Saturday night did not acknowledge the problem with her nanny.

Nauert’s nanny issue became politically untenable — and would have likely come out in her confirmation hearing — given that halting illegal migration was a centerpiece of Trump’s campaign and has animated his fight to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

A day before Nauert withdrew, Trump declared a national emergency to secure more money for the proposed wall, after the US Congress approved only about US$1.4 billion in a spending deal.

“I am grateful to President Trump and Secretary [of Defense Mike] Pompeo for the trust they placed in me, for considering me for the position of US Ambassador to the United Nations,” Nauert said in the statement. “However, the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration.”

Nauert was expected to face a thorny confirmation hearing given her lack of diplomatic or government experience and the likelihood that she would be asked to answer for the Trump administration’s scorn for international bodies, including the UN.

In a speech in Brussels in December last year, Pompeo made his doubts about the organization clear, asking: “Does it continue to serve its mission faithfully?”

Trump has begun discussing potential new candidates for the UN post with his advisers, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Other potential nominees had earlier included former White House aide Dina Powell, US Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft, former US Senate candidate John James and US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.

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