State Department spokeswoman leading candidate for UN ambassador

Trump reportedly told advisers that Heather Nauert is his leading choice to replace Nikki Haley.

Ben Ariel ,

Heather Nauert
Heather Nauert

US President Donald Trump has told advisers that State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is his leading choice to become US ambassador to the United Nations, two sources familiar with his pick told CNN on Thursday.

According to the report, Trump could offer Nauert the post as soon as this week.

If named Nauert, who met with Trump Monday, would leave her role at the State Department to take over for Nikki Haley.

Reports earlier this week indicated that Trump had met with Nauert as he searches for a new ambassador, but Nauert would not comment on those reports.

People close to the President cautioned that his pick is not final until it is formally announced. The White House declined to comment on Thursday’s report.

Speaking at the White House on Thursday, Trump confirmed that Nauert is "under very serious consideration" to become the next US ambassador to the UN.

"She's excellent. She's been with us a long time. She's been a supporter for a long time. And she's really excellent," Trump was quoted as having said.

"We'll probably make a decision next week," Trump said in his remarks. "We have a lot of people that want the job and they're a lot of really great people."

Haley announced last month that she will exit the administration by the end of 2018, citing her desire to "take a break" from public service.

Other candidates Trump has considered since Haley’s announcement include Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, former White House aide Dina Powell, the US ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft and the US ambassador to France, Jamie McCourt.

Trump recently indicated he would prefer that Haley’s successor be a woman, but noted he is still considering several people for the position.

Nauert, 48, had little experience in government or foreign policy before joining the administration in April 2017 after several years as an anchor and correspondent for Fox News.

She has gained Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trust after being excluded from the inner circle of his predecessor, Rex Tillerson.