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Heather Nauert is Trump's leading choice for UN ambassador

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is President Trump's leading choice to take over the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a senior administration official and another administration official with knowledge of the matter tell CBS News.  

The post will be vacated current U.N. Ambassador and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley at the end of the year. The president has told White House advisers that he continues to be impressed by Nauert, a former Fox News host before joining the State Department. The president met with Nauert this week in the Oval Office, and may formally offer her the position as early as next week. CBS News had previously reported that Nauert was under consideration for the role. 

"She's under very serious consideration," Mr. Trump told reporters before departing for rally in Missouri on Thursday.

"She's excellent. She's been with us a long time. She's been a supporter for a long time. And she's really excellent," the president added.

A top White House official reiterated to CBS News earlier this week that she is "under strong consideration."  

White House sources, however, caution that nothing is set in stone until it is officially announced by the president. Among the other top contenders being considered were U.S. Ambassador to France Jamie McCourt and U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft.

Nauert does not have lengthy diplomatic experience. She was previously a news reader for the Fox News morning broadcast "Fox and Friends" and was also a former ABC News correspondent. Nauert graduated from Columbia University with a master's degree in journalism, and Ivy league credentials have always impressed the president. 

Nauert has long been a favorite of Mr. Trump and many in his inner circle. She was selected directly by the White House, not by then-Secretary of State Tillerson, for her current role at the State Department.

Nauert has expressed interest in the job because it would bring her closer to her family in New York City, according to sources. This week, Nauert handed all the briefings at State off to her deputy, indicating that she is putting her time and energy in other places right now. Sources familiar with the discussions believe that Mr. Trump wanted to make the announcement before the midterm election next Tuesday.