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Trump's UN nominee faces tough questions about qualifications at UN Advertisement

Heather Nauert, the Fox News anchor and now the state department spokesperson, is expected to face tough questions during her confirmation hearing next month as she prepares to appear before the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the position of US Ambassador to the UN.

Nauert, 48, would replace Indian American Nikki Haley as the Permanent Representatives of the United States to the UN if she is confirmed by the Senate.

President Donald Trump nominated Nauert for the top diplomatic position in the UN last month, weeks after Haley announced her resignation. But unlike Haley, who was given a Cabinet ranking in which capacity she was a key member of the Trump's national security team and attended Cabinet meetings at the White House, Nauert has not been bestowed with the same ranks.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has not announced a date for Nauert's confirmation hearing. But it is expected sometime next month. The ruling Republican Party enjoys a majority in the Upper Chamber of the Congress, but Senators from the opposition Democratic party have already said that they have questions over her qualification as the top US diplomat to the United Nations.

In the past, the position has been held by some of the top American political leaders and diplomats including former president George H W Bush.

"I'll be happy to hear why she thinks she's qualified," said Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"She has no foreign policy experience that I can deduce, and being a spokesperson is different than being the chief diplomat of the United States at a world body like the UN," Menendez said.

Nauert is currently the state department spokesperson, a position which she has served successfully for more than year and half.

As the spokesperson, she has been impressive with her diplomatic acumen, which probably was instrumental in Trump picking her for the UN. 

Many of her supporters argued she's more than qualified for the role, noting her practice in messaging the administration's foreign policy for nearly two years under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and now his successor, Mike Pompeo. 

Republican Senator Marco Rubio said he looks forward to meeting her ahead of the confirmation hearing. 

"If you're the right person with the right level of intellect and understanding, then she can do the job. I just haven't met her, so I can't render a judgment. I have nothing against her, I just haven't met her, the Senator from Florida said.

In a report, Politico said Nauert has no diplomatic experience aside from her year and a half as state department spokesperson, a job she got with little background in global affairs.

But under the Trump administration, unusual pathways to top positions have become typical. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Energy Secretary Rick Perry both assumed posts overseeing agencies they admittedly knew little about. And there's a team of supporters both in and out of the government working to convince lawmakers and the public that Nauert will be up to the task once her nomination is officially submitted to the Senate next year.

But according to Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Nauert "is very well-informed about any issue senators are likely to ask about, but what she's not experienced in is the political give-and-take she'll need to negotiate compromises at the UN.

By Lalit K. Jha - PTI

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