During a raucous CNN interview, host Chris Cuomo and his guests all raised their voices while discussing Donald Trump’s reported consideration of State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert to be the United States’ next UN ambassador.
Cuomo noted that this is far from the first time Trump has weighed promoting people he likes to senior positions in his administration.
“First the president wanted his personal doctor to be the head of the VA,” the host said. “Then he wanted his personal pilot to be the head of the FAA. Now he wants a former anchor from his personal favorite morning show to replace Nikki Haley.”
With Nauert’s relatively short tenure at State and her former career as a Fox & Friends host, Cuomo wondered how she would be “qualified” for a cabinet-level position.
The fireworks began when former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and ex-Republican National Committee chief of staff Mike Shields began butting heads over whether the nomination of the arguably-unqualified ambassador candidate could be seen as a win for women.
Shields brought up that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley “didn’t have all that much foreign policy experience” after taking on the role following her governorship of South Carolina — and Granholm pointed out that she was at least qualified via her political experience.
“It’s commendable the president could potentially nominate a second woman for this,” the former RNC official said, drawing a swift rebuttal from the former Michigan governor.
Granholm said she found the prospect offensive.
“It’s a really insulting thing to say, ‘let me throw a woman up there, and therefore our woman problem will be cured or therefore the Democrats are hypocritical if they criticize,'” she noted. “This would be the least experienced UN Ambassador in the history of the United States.”
Shields insisted that detractors give Nauert a chance and claimed that if she was not a good fit, they could demote her — a suggestion Cuomo balked at.
“Why would you do it that way?” the host said.
After Granholm reiterated just how difficult the ambassador’s position is and how much experience is necessary to do the job well, however, Shields continued down his line of reasoning.
“Every woman who’s in a senior leadership position at some point, didn’t have the experience and was put into place,” he said — but the former Democratic governor cut him off.
“Stop this, do not — do not be all feminist with me,” Granholm said. “Do not do that. It is insulting.”
Shields told her she was “offended” by what he was saying as he continued to cut her off, and later in the segment Cuomo accused him of treating the UN ambassadorship like a “starter job” — a characterization the former RN official denied.
“You’re making the arguments against her that sound sexist to me,” Shields told Granholm.
The former governor again explained her reasoning, said Nauert might do well in a spokesperson position given her background and said Shields was making “pandering” arguments — and he decided to respond with Shakespeare.
“Thou doth protest too much,” Shields said before breaking into a grin.