US President Donald Trump has officially named State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to replace Nikki Haley as the US ambassador to the United Nations, ending weeks of speculation about the post.
"Heather Nauert will be nominated for the ambassador to the United Nations," Trump announced in remarks to reporters before leaving for an event in Missouri Friday.
"She’s very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she’s going to be respected by all," Trump said of Nauert, a former Fox News anchor.
However, according to reports, Trump's pick could face a tough Senate confirmation process due to her thin resume and the president's unorthodox foreign policy push into the congressional spotlight at at a time of America's increasing isolation at the global stage.
Nauert has been a "leading contender" to represent the US to the international organization since Haley announced a couple of months ago that she would be leaving her post.
Critics say that Nauert lacks the kind of in-depth policy knowledge or political background needed to represent the country at the UN.
"The United Nations is the big leagues of diplomacy," said Brett Bruen, who was a director of global engagement in the Obama administration. "This is the most egregious example of Trump filling critical national security jobs by using a superficial casting criteria more appropriate for reality shows than the dangerous realities of today's world."
Meanwhile, David Bosco, a professor of international relations at Indiana University, said Nauert would definitely be one of the least experienced person for the UN job.
"Her only real foreign policy is this stint at the State Department in a kind of spokesperson role," he noted. "Nor does she have what Haley had, which was significant high-level governing experience. So as I look at who we have had in this position over the decades, I think Nauert would be one of the least prepared for this position."
Haley, a former South Carolina governor and rising Republican star, unexpectedly announced her resignation in October and promised to serve at the position through the end of 2018.
She was one of the first members of President Trump’s cabinet, confirmed four days after his inauguration.
In her resignation letter, Haley dismissed the possibility of running against Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump picks William Barr as new attorney general
Trump on Friday also nominated William Barr, a former attorney general under George H.W. Bush, to head the Justice Department.
"He was my first choice since day one," Trump told reporters. "He 'll be nominated."
Last month, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States,” Trump said in a tweet.
“We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date,” he added.
Sessions, a longtime Alabama senator and one of the key elements behind Trump’s surprise election win in 2016, ran the Justice Department for nearly two years.