U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Indian-American South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She is the first woman picked up for a top administration post during Trump’s White House transition so far.
Trump’s plan to offer the job to 44-year-old Haley, a rising Republican star and daughter of Indian immigrants, was first reported by The Washington Post and Courier. “The move, expected Wednesday, continues the steep political rise of the daughter of Indian immigrants that started six years ago when the Bamberg native was elected as South Carolina’s first female and minority governor,” the Post and Courier reported.
Born as Nimrata ‘Nikki’ Randhawa to Indian immigrants from Punjab, she became the first female governor in South Carolina. Ms. Haley is the second Indian American to become the Governor of a State after Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. At 44, she’s the youngest current Governor in the U.S. In the 2016 presidential race, Ms. Haley first endorsed Florida senator Marco Rubio. After Rubio suspended his campaign, she endorsed Ted Cruz for President.
Ms. Haley, who is serving her second term, has worked on trade and labor issues as the Governor but brings little foreign policy experience. Her views on various US military and national security matters usually fall within the Republican Party’s hawkish mainstream. Trump met with Mr. Haley last Thursday at the Trump Tower in New York as part of the round of meetings the president-elect has held. The Post and Courier noted that Ms. Haley has taken at least eight trips abroad since taking office in 2011, including visits to Germany.
Ms. Haley would replace Samantha Power as the next US Ambassador to the UN, The Wall Street Journal reported.
She would also be the first ever Indian-American Cabinet-rank official in any administration. The Cabinet position would require confirmation by the Senate. Reports also said that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a Ms Haley ally, is said to be Trump’s likely choice for Secretary of State, a position Ms. Haley was last week speculated to get.
“The planned nomination to the Cabinet-level post, confirmed by multiple sources with knowledge of the decision, is likely to raise questions about Ms. Haley’s qualifications for a major foreign policy role since she has little diplomatic experience as a state lawmaker and governor,” the daily said. Ms. Haley was a vocal critic of the real estate mogul on the campaign trail. She later voted for Trump, lamenting that she was “not a fan” of either candidate. Ms. Haley is the first minority and female Governor of South Carolina, a deeply conservative State with a long history of racial strife.
She has been characterized as a rising star within the Republican Party.