Sen. Jeff Merkley: Trump’s nominee to UN is inexperienced

December 7, 2018 GMT

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The top Democrat on a U.S. Senate subcommittee that oversees America’s relationship with the United Nations slammed President Donald Trump’s choice of a former Fox News host and current State Department spokeswoman to be ambassador to the world body.

“Ambassador to the U.N. is a pivotal role, which has been previously held by individuals with deep international affairs knowledge, political leadership, or diplomatic experience,” Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon said. “Ms. (Heather) Nauert has none of the above.”

Merkley, who is considering a run for the White House, serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Multilateral Institutions Subcommittee, which oversees the United States’ relationship with the U.N.

Trump announced Friday he’s nominating Nauert, saying she’s talented, smart and that he thinks she’s going to be respected. Trump told reporters last month that Nauert has “been a supporter for a long time.”

“Unquestioned loyalty to President Trump and experience as an anchor on President Trump’s favorite cable news network are, clearly, not sufficient qualifications,” Merkley said in a statement.

If she is confirmed by the Senate, Nauert will replace Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor who announced in October that she would step down at the end of this year.

Merkley said that when he meets with Nauert, he’ll determine whether she is committed to tackling global challenges, including global warming, refugee crises and weapons of mass destruction.