Heather Nauert 'to replace Nikki Haley as USA envoy to UN'

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department

A two-term governor of SC before joining the Trump administration, Haley announced she was stepping down with high approval ratings and a promise to support President Donald Trump in his re-election bid in 2020.

Fox News said Mr Trump would tweet about the appointment on Friday morning, while Bloomberg said it had been told of the decision to appoint Ms Nauert by three sources. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the change.

Nauert has also taken criticism over her years of experience as a Fox News anchor, which some argue are a poor substitute for diplomatic experience.

According to Daniel Benjamin, a state department counterterrorism coordinator during the Barack Obama administration, Nauert's appointment shows that Trump and his top officials are looking to firmly control U.S. foreign policy.

The president, who puts a premium on loyalty, earlier hailed Nauert as "a supporter for a long time - really, excellent". The announcement was made by a source familiar with Trump's decision, reported Reuters.

She has served under two secretaries of state -Rex Tillerson and her current boss Mike Pompeo - and was designated acting under-secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs from March to October 2018. Tony Sayegh, a former Fox contributor, now serves in communications at the Treasury Department.

"But, I think it [the US ambassador job] is not going to be what it was under Nikki Haley, which was a serious competitor under a vacuum at the NSC [National Security Council] and at the State Department under [former Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson".

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Nauert, 48, has been back and forth between her husband and two sons in NY and her job in Washington, D.C. Mercedes Schlapp was a Fox News commentator before she too was hired to work in the White House communications office.

On Nauert's nomination, Hirono said she would have "difficulty" supporting her due to her lack of experience.

That role gave her responsibilities far beyond the news conferences she held in the State Department briefing room. She was in charge of the Global Engagement Center that fights extremist messaging from the Islamic State group and others, and she has a seat on the U.S. Agency for Global Media that oversees government broadcast networks such as Voice of America.

Just 18 months ago, she was not in government.

At the time, Trump, alongside Haley, said in a meeting with reporters,"She's done a fantastic job, and we've done a fantastic job together".

Shut out from the top by Tillerson and his inner circle, Nauert developed relationships with career diplomats. She is a graduate of the Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and Mount Vernon College in Washington. Barred from traveling with Tillerson, she embarked on her own overseas trips, visiting Bangladesh and Myanmar previous year to see the plight of Rohingya Muslims, and then Israel after a planned stop in Syria was scrapped.

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