In a surprise move, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert withdrew her nomination to replace Indian-American Nikki Haley as the top US diplomat at the United Nations, amid criticism by Democrats for her lack of diplomatic experience.
Nauert, 48, a former Fox News anchor, issued a statement yesterday citing family reasons for her decision.
President Trump will announce a new nominee soon, said officials.
Grateful to President Trump for showing trust on me: Nauert
"I am grateful to President Donald Trump and Secretary Mike Pompeo for the trust they placed in me for considering me for the position of US Ambassador to the United Nations," Nauert said.
"However, the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration," she said.
Trump to make announcement about new nominee soon
Nauret said that her two years with the administration had been "one of the highest honors" of her life, adding, "I will always be grateful to the President, the Secretary, and my colleagues at the State Department for their support."
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said that President Trump will make an announcement about a new nominee soon.
A decision for which I have great respect: Pompeo
Pompeo said Nauert had performed her duties as a senior member of his team "with unequaled excellence". "Her decision to withdraw name from consideration to become the nominee for US Ambassador to the UN is a decision for which I have great respect," he said.
Trump had nominated Nauert after Haley announced resignation last year
President Trump nominated Nauert for the top diplomatic position at the UN in November, weeks after Haley announced her resignation.
Senators from the opposition Democratic party raised questions over her qualification as the top US diplomat to the United Nations.
In the past, the position was held by some of the top American political leaders and diplomats including former president George HW Bush.
Nauert has no foreign policy experience, said Senator Bob Menendez
"She (Nauert) has no foreign policy experience... being a spokesperson is different than being the chief diplomat of US at a world body like the UN," said Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Many of her supporters argued she's more than qualified for the role, noting her practice in messaging the Trump administration's foreign policy for nearly two years.