President-elect Donald Trump’s reported pick for the country’s ambassador to the United Nations is South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, making her the first female appointment to a cabinet-level post. The move is expected to be officially announced early Wednesday but was reported by the Washington Post and the Charleston Post and Courier, citing unidentified sources.
Born to Indian immigrants, Haley (born Nimrata Randhawa) is serving her second term as governor and has been lauded for her handling of the deeply sensitive Charleston church shooting which was quickly followed by historic flooding in the state.
Following the racially-charged shooting, Haley pushed for the removal of the Confederate battle flag that had flown on the Statehouse grounds for over 50 years, and succeeded. Her addition to the cabinet will give Trump much-needed diversity amid the otherwise mostly controversial appointments the construction mogul has made so far.
Haley, 44, has next to no foreign policy experience and has traveled eight times since taking office — mostly on trade missions — the Post and Courier reported. Her husband, Michael Haley, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 as a member of the S.C. National Guard.
The Republican governor campaigned for Senator Marco Rubio during the 2016 presidential race and has been critical of Trump’s position on issues like the proposed ban on Muslims. However, as she visited Trump last week, she told reporters there was no animosity between her and the president-elect who reportedly contributed $5,000 to a pro-Haley political group in 2012.
“He was a friend and supporter before he ran for president, and was kind to me then. But when I see something I am uncomfortable with, I say it,” the Post reported her saying. “When we met, it was friends who had known each other before.”
If Haley moves up to the federal position, she will be replaced by South Carolina’s Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster, who is one of Trump’s closest allies, allowing the president-elect to promote both the politicians.
Haley will replace Samantha Powers, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013, as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN following a confirmation by the Senate.