Donald Trump’s presidency, what with its xenophobic, alarmist rhetoric informed by deep-rooted ignorance and fear, could also be described as a rather successful experiment in a live-action segment on Fox News. As if having the president parrot the opinions of the network of choice of racists everywhere wasn’t enough, we will now have someone from the inside on the government’s payroll: Trump will replace Steve Goldstein, a top aide to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was also fired yesterday, with Harriet Nauert Norby, a State Department spokeswoman and former Fox and Friends co-host. (Since she’s a woman, Trump has also now furthered feminism as a bonus gift. Cool!)
Trump moving fast at State: Spokeswoman Heather Nauert named acting undersecretary for public diplomacy, replacing Steve Goldstein— Nicholas Wadhams (@nwadhams) March 13, 2018
NEW from the WH:— David Martosko (@dmartosko) March 13, 2018
"The following individual to be Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy: Heather Nauert Norby of New York."
She replaces Steve Goldstein, who was fired today for breaking from the official line on when Rex Tillerson found out he'd been axed.
One way to understand the significance of this change is to explain the bizarre way Tillerson was fired, and to try to pin down when he realized he was being booted. When Tillerson provided a statement confirming that he would be leaving his position as Secretary of State, he said that he had only learned of his firing hours before on Twitter that same day. The White House, however, claims that Tillerson had been told on Friday, thereby undermining him and making him seem stupid.
Goldstein, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and one of Tillerson’s top aides, released a statement on Tuesday that suggested this wasn’t true. The AP has two unnamed senior department officials that support Goldstein and Tillerson’s version of events by saying that Tillerson “received a call from John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff, on Friday, but was only told that there might be a presidential tweet that would concern him. Kelly didn’t tell Tillerson what the tweet might say or when it might actually publish.”
In other words, Goldstein was fired along with Tillerson for supporting his former boss in suggesting that Trump had mismanaged his own staff and couldn’t even fire people properly, which is literally the only thing the Apprentice host is qualified to do. Keeping with the theme, it is generally believed one of the reasons Tillerson was fired is because he sided with the United Kingdom and openly blamed Russia for the recent poisonings of former Russian spies in Salisbury.
The White House has since confirmed that Heather Nauert will take Goldstein’s job as undersecretary for public diplomacy. One White House official said that “Heather is the only one at State we trust.” Nauert has been working at the State Department since April of last year as a spokeswoman, but has no previous diplomatic experience. Prior to that, Nauert was a host at the Fox morning show, Fox and Friends.
Unsurprisingly, Fox and Friends is one of Trump’s favorite shows. A University of Chicago researcher found that the times of Trump’s tweets strongly correlate to the show’s air time between 6 and 9 a.m. ThinkProgress also noted that a U.S. Navy Sailor went on the show to plead for an appeal of his natural security felony conviction, and Trump pardoned him just days later.