Nauert has served as the media's point of contact with and mouthpiece for the State Department since April 2017, working under secretaries Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo and coming to the position from a journalistic background at Fox News and ABC. It's not yet clear whether she'll accept the position US President Donald Trump offered her, but she's not the only candidate for the position, either. Trump announced Thursday that Nauert was under very serious consideration and that he would probably make the decision final next week.
Others include Jamie McCourt, the US ambassador to France; Ric Grennell, the ambassador to Germany; and Kelly Craft, the ambassador in Canada. Former Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell was initially eyed as the leading contender, CNN noted, but she withdrew from consideration early in the process.
While her ability to handle the media is unquestioned, Nauert's diplomatic experience is wanting, compared to past UN ambassadors like John Bolton. Nauert has been the State Department's undersecretary for public diplomacy since March — making her already the country's fourth-highest diplomat — and is a term member at the Council of Foreign Relations think tank. However, Haley was also not an experienced diplomat when she became ambassador to the UN, as her highest office had been governor of South Carolina.
CNN notes that Nauert's strongest selling point for Trump is loyalty, reportedly the cause of friction between her and Tillerson during the latter's final months in office, before Trump fired him via Twitter in March 2018.
Richard Gowan, senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research at United Nations University, noted in a Tweet Thursday that it was unclear if a prospective Ambassador Nauert would be given Cabinet-level status, as Haley was. If she becomes the ambassador but isn't given that status, it could indicate a move toward making her a mere "spokesperson rather than a player in the administration."
The question of whether or not the UN ambassador sits on the US Cabinet, a board of the president's top advisers that typically includes certain White House staffers and heads of federal agencies, has been tossed back and forth for the last 30 years, with some presidents putting their UN ambassadors on the Cabinet and others not. Bolton, who is presently national security adviser, strongly opposes the inclusion of UN ambassadors in the Cabinet, saying that "it overstates the role and importance the UN should have in US foreign policy" and that "you shouldn't have two secretaries in the same department," since the Secretary of State is also in the Cabinet.
If Nauert accepts, she'll have to be confirmed by the US Senate, which is sure to grill her before accepting her as the top US diplomat on the world stage.