Heather Nauert, now President Donald Trump’s pick to be the ambassador to the United Nations, mocked the organization in late 2016 and suggested the U.S. stop funding it.
“So now you have the United Nations, and we can all laugh at the United Nations, but there are a whole lot of countries in this world, correctly or incorrectly, who take them very seriously,” Nauert said on the Dec. 28, 2016, edition of the Fox News program “The Five.”
Nauert’s antipathy toward the U.N. could endear her to the Trump administration but provide fodder for a bipartisan group of senators who have concerns about her lack of foreign-policy experience outside of serving as State Department spokeswoman for the past 18 months.
Her statements are similar to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s calls to abolish the Energy Department before Trump nominated him to lead it. Perry apologized for the remarks in the opening statement of his Senate Energy Committee confirmation hearing, anticipating calls of hypocrisy and opposition to his nomination from both sides of aisle.
Nauert’s 2016 Fox News panel was discussing the Obama administration’s refusal to block a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements in Palestine.
Nauert said members of the U.N. were ganging up on Israel and that the U.S. — under the incoming Trump administration — should stop giving it so much money or simply defund it.
“Some members of Congress are talking about what to do about the United Nations. Do we defund the United Nations?” she said, according to a transcript of the show. “And there is so much money that goes into it, basically two pots. There is one that goes into a general fund, and then one that goes into United Nations’ peacekeeping. And the United Nations’ peacekeeping one is like $2.3 billion and we can question whether or not they always do what is right.”
On Thursday, Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, threatened to cut money from U.N. peacekeeping missions in Africa.
“The United States will no longer provide indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent, without focus or prioritization. And, we will no longer support unproductive, unsuccessful, and unaccountable UN peacekeeping missions,” Bolton said in a speech at the Heritage Foundation, The Guardian reported.
The U.S. spent $10 billion on U.N. programs in 2016, with $2.4 billion going to peacekeeping efforts, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. The U.S. funding represented 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget in 2016.