Despite being a critic of President-elect Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, the New York businessman named South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to represent the U.S. at the United Nations in the role of ambassador on Wednesday.
With this appointment of Haley, Mr. Trump is elevating the position of UN ambassador to cabinet-level status.
Announcing her appointment, which is subject to Senate confirmation, Mr. Trump said in a statement:
“Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country. She is also a proven dealmaker, and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage.”
Accepting the post out of “duty” to her country, Haley released a statement which read:
“When the president believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed.”
Despite lacking foreign policy experience, Haley’s appointment was praised by fellow South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who called Haley a “good choice.”
A second-term Republican governor of South Carolina, Haley served six years in the South Carolina House of Representatives and won the governor’s seat in Columbia in 2010.
Re-elected in 2014 by a 14 percent plurality, Haley drew criticism for being among the first to demand Syrian refugees be settled elsewhere than her state, but was praised for signing legislation removing the Confederate flag from public grounds in 2015 and for her eloquent response to President Obama’s State of the Union address in January, where she called for bipartisanship and gently chastised her own party for its contributions to congressional gridlock.
Although Mr. Trump and Haley often engaged in feuds on Twitter and Haley’s early endorsement of Trump’s primary rivals, Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, drove a wedge between the two, the pair share similar positions on immigration, tax policy and labor unions.
The first female governor of the Palmetto State, Haley is of Indian descent and was raised a Sikh. Now a Christian, Haley is the youngest sitting governor of any state in the Union.
The appointment of Haley to lead the American diplomatic delegation at the UN follows Trump’s appointments of General Michael Flynn as head of the NSA, Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to lead the CIA and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as U.S. Attorney General over the weekend.
[AP] [Photo courtesy Harry E. Walker/MCT via The Baltimore Sun]