US President Donald Trump getures during the National Republican Congressional Committee Annual Spring Dinner on April 2, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump getures during the National Republican Congressional Committee Annual Spring Dinner on April 2, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:24
These are Trump's Fox News hires (2018)
Now playing
02:11
'Sad': Kinzinger blasts Hawley's CPAC remarks
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
PHOTO: Seth Wenig/Pool/AP
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
Now playing
01:12
Gov. Andrew Cuomo responds to allegations of sexual harassment
 Psaki biden White House Khashoggi Saudi Arabia sotu bash vpx _00011629.png
PHOTO: CNN
Psaki biden White House Khashoggi Saudi Arabia sotu bash vpx _00011629.png
Now playing
03:42
Bash to Psaki: Why hasn't Saudi Arabia been held accountable for murder of Khashoggi?
Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) speaks during opening ceremonies of the 2020 Virginia General Assembly at the Virginia State Capitol on January 8, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia.
PHOTO: Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) speaks during opening ceremonies of the 2020 Virginia General Assembly at the Virginia State Capitol on January 8, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia.
Now playing
04:26
Virginia's political shift from red to purple to blue
senator bill cassidy sotu bash vpx _00002611.png
senator bill cassidy sotu bash vpx _00002611.png
Now playing
01:42
GOP senator: If we continue to idolize one person, we will lose
Now playing
01:27
Kristi Noem gets standing ovation for Dr. Fauci dig at CPAC
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
PHOTO: House TV
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Now playing
02:52
House passes Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package
covid-19 relief package house biden sot malveaux nr vpx _00000000.png
PHOTO: CNN
covid-19 relief package house biden sot malveaux nr vpx _00000000.png
Now playing
02:28
CNN's Joe Johns explains Biden's short speech as relief bill heads to Senate
Sen. Bernie Sanders AC360 intv 02262021
PHOTO: CNN via Cisco Webex
Sen. Bernie Sanders AC360 intv 02262021
Now playing
03:54
Sanders on what happens with proposed minimum wage increase now
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week
PHOTO: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. According to reports, as many as 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be guarding the city as preparations are made for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. President. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:33
This is what's in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus package
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:24
Acosta corrects CPAC organizer: Trump did lose the election
PHOTO: Pool
Now playing
01:10
Rand Paul accused of 'transphobic attack' in confirmation hearing
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:39
Republicans push new restrictive election bills in 43 states
van jones minimum wage
van jones minimum wage
Now playing
02:44
Van Jones: This is a make or break issue for Democrats
US President Joe Biden speaks about the 50 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine shot administered in the US during an event commemorating the milestone in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, February 25, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Saul Loeb/AFP/etty Images
US President Joe Biden speaks about the 50 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine shot administered in the US during an event commemorating the milestone in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, February 25, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:28
Axelrod explains the message Biden is sending with strike
(CNN) —  

Former Fox News contributor Morgan Ortagus, the expected pick to become the next State Department spokesperson, repeatedly criticized President Donald Trump during the 2016 Republican presidential primary, a CNN review found.

Ortagus publicly lambasted then-candidate Trump over what she called his “isolationist foreign policy approach,” and blasted behavior she qualified as “disgusting” and “not serious.”

Moderator Morgan Ortagus speaks during the panel
PHOTO: Gabriel Aponte/Getty Images South America
Moderator Morgan Ortagus speaks during the panel 'Economu and Trade: Colombia in the Global Spotlight' as part of the 2018 Concordia Americas Summit day 2 at Agora Bogota Convention Center on July 17, 2018 in Bogota, Colombia.

However, she quickly reinvented herself as a vocal Trump supporter after he secured the party’s nomination and has remained a key TV surrogate for the administration over the last two years.

Ortagus would bring deep foreign policy experience to the job.

While she is perhaps best known for her appearances on Fox News, the active Navy Reserve officer previously served as a Treasury Department intelligence analyst during the Obama administration and a spokesperson with the US Agency for International Development under President George W. Bush.

That experience sets her apart from former spokesperson Heather Nauert in the high-profile State Department position, allies say.

Officials have been preparing paperwork and examining Ortagus’ background for weeks and sources close to her say she is in good standing with the President, but there is lingering uncertainty around whether Trump is fully aware of the blistering attacks Ortagus levied against him during the campaign, several sources told CNN.

In an April 2016 appearance on Fox News, Ortagus, who was working for a super PAC associated with Trump’s primary opponent former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said she had deep-seated problems with Trump’s foreign policy approach despite agreeing with him on certain issues like Iran.

“In his gut, he does not think that Americans should be, quote unquote, the policemen of the world,” she said during a panel discussion dissecting Trump’s foreign policy speech.

“I don’t see it that way. I think that America is the glue that holds the world together. … So there were points that I agreed with him today, but overall, I fundamentally disagree with his isolationist approach to foreign policy,” she added.

Earlier that year, Ortagus had slammed Trump for mocking people with physical and mental disabilities and described his temperament as unsuitable for the Oval Office.

“You have somebody who makes fun of people with mental and physical disabilities. That’s disgusting; there’s no other way around it,” she said in January 2016.

“Quite frankly, I don’t want someone with the temperament of a middle school pubescent boy in the president’s office,” Ortagus added in the same radio interview.

In a March 2016 op-ed, Ortagus wrote that “people know Trump isn’t serious,” but acknowledged that he had tapped into a feeling within the Republican voter base that other candidates had not.

She did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

A White House official told CNN that they could not speak to the comments Ortagus made in 2016 but noted that she has cultivated strong relationships within the West Wing and built a reputation as a trusted national security voice.

Ortagus underwent a dramatic transformation after Trump won the Republican primary, serving as a surrogate until as recently as last Thursday.

“The primaries get heated,” a GOP source close to Ortagus said. “After the President secured the nomination, she was a TV surrogate for Trump and supported his candidacy in the general election. She has been supportive of the President ever since.”

A senior administration official cautioned last week that Ortagus has not officially been named. But there are signs that a formal announcement could be coming soon.

After CNN and other outlets reported last week that Ortagus was expected to be named to the position, a Fox News spokesperson said Thursday that she was no longer being paid by the network.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been advocating on her behalf, according to sources familiar with the situation.

For her part, Ortagus is prepared to address her earlier comments with the President if they come up, and will likely frame that criticism as typical of a heated primary race, two sources familiar with her thinking said.

“Her comments calling Trump ‘disgusting’ are something she will have to discuss with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and with the President. I think reviewing her past comments are probably part of the vetting process,” according to Samantha Vinograd, a CNN national security analyst, who is a close friend and business partner of Ortagus.

“I think the President would be hard-pressed to find someone who is qualified, can pass vetting and who hasn’t criticized him while he tries to fill senior roles,” Vinograd said.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the name of the Navy Reserve.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.