The stunning news Saturday night that Heather Nauert has withdrawn as the President’s choice for ambassador to the United Nations immediately triggered speculation on who the President would tap to represent the US in the international forum.
In effect, the Administration — and the press — were back to where they were in October of last year when then-Ambassador Nikki Haley announced her resignation from the U.N. post.
Among those mentioned for the job at the time were Nauert, then undersecretary and top spokeswoman at the U.S. State Department; Richard Grennell, U.S. ambassador to Germany and a top spokesman for three former U.N. ambassadors; and Kevin Moley, assistant secretary of state for International Organizations and formerly head of a private nonprofit group to feed the hungry known as Project Concern, International.
With Nauert gone, both Moley and Grennell were the subject of immediate speculation for the U.N.. Whether either wanted to leave their present positions is unclear at this time.
Also discussed for the position is former Sen. Kelley Ayotte, R.-N.H. who lost a “squeaker” for re-election in 2016. Ayotte has since won high marks from the White House for helping to shepherd the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
One fresh and intriguing prospect just starting to be discussed for the U.N. slot is Fiona Hill, special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs on his National Security Council staff. Hill, a highly-rated Kremlinologist who has written three much-praised books on Russian politics.
Still another name mentioned is that of former Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind,who lost a three-way primary for the U.S. Senate nomination in the Hoosier State. Messer, who served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chaired the House Republican Policy Committee, would likely have the strong support of his close friend Vice President Mike Pence.
In naming Ayotte or Messer, Trump would continue the past tradition of Republican presidents to nominate defeated candidates for office to the U.N. ambassadorship and thus give them a chance to stay in public life and move on to greater things. In 1952, President Eisenhower named to the U.N. Henry Cabot Lodge, who had just lost re-election to his Senate seat in Massachusetts to John Kennedy and in 1970, President Nixon tapped George H.W. Bush to the U.N. after the former Texas congressman lost a Senate race.
Both Lodge and Bush ended up on GOP national tickets.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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