Heather Nauert, Donald Trump's preferred nominee for US ambassador to the United Nations, has withdrawn her candidacy.
Former Fox News anchor and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Saturday that she has withdrawn from consideration to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations.
"The past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw," Nauert said in a statement.
The abrupt statement, issued in the evening of a holiday weekend, came after weeks of often mocking criticism of the nomination of Nauert, who had no foreign policy experience until two years ago when she was named State Department spokeswoman.
Opponents questioned whether Nauert, despite her poise at the podium, had the gravitas and skill to go head-to-head on complex international issues with seasoned diplomats from adversaries such as Russia.
President Donald Trump, an avid viewer of conservative-leaning Fox News where Nauert was once an anchor on morning show "Fox and Friends," told reporters in December that he wanted her to be UN ambassador.
Her nomination, however, was never formally submitted to the Senate and she has vanished for over two months as she prepared for a confirmation hearing -- and, eventually, the top diplomatic job.
With Trump's Republican Party in control of the Senate, her nomination had not seemed to be in serious risk, barring any disclosure that had not been made public.
State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said that Trump would put forward a new name "soon."
The UN post has been vacant since the start of the year after Nikki Haley, a former governor seen as a rising star in Republican politics, decided to leave after two years in the position.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Nauert in a statement, saying that he had "great respect" for her "personal" decision to withdraw.
Heather Nauert has withdrawn her candidacy for the position of US ambassador to the United Nations, the US State Department says.
"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 in a statement on Saturday.
"However, the past two months have been gruelling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration."
Nauert is currently spokeswoman for the State Department and was nominated by Trump to replace Nikki Haley, who stepped down from the role at the end of last year.