U.S. President-elect Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he intends to nominate South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to serve as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, which is a cabinet-level position.
Haley, who is 44 and the daughter of Indian immigrants, is regarded as a rising star within the Republican Party, though she has little foreign policy experience. Trump and Haley were also critical of each other during the presidential campaign.
“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,” Trump said in a statement. “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.”
Haley, in her own statement, added: “Our country faces enormous challenges here at home and internationally, and I am honored that the President-elect has asked me to join his team and serve the country we love as the next Ambassador to the United Nations.”
Haley became the governor of her home state in 2011 and won re-election in 2014. Her nomination means that, if accepted by the U.S. Senate, she would step down as governor and would be replaced by the state’s lieutenant governor, Henry McMaster, to serve out her term.
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is currently a cabinet-level position, giving the ambassador direct access to the president. Several past presidents lowered the post back to an ambassadorship, but Trump’s statement affirmed it as a cabinet-level position in the Trump-Pence Administration.
Haley has previously been critical of Trump and endorsed Senator Marco Rubio during the Republican primaries. She strongly opposed Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, though Trump later said it would apply only to people from terror-prone countries.
Trump himself has also been critical of Haley, calling her “very, very weak on illegal immigration” after the governor referred to Trump by saying you don’t have to be “the loudest voice in the room” to make a difference. In a tweet, Trump later said: “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!”
Including Haley, Trump has so far selected 6 people to serve in prominent positions: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff, Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon as the President’s Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, U.S. Congressman Mike Pompeo as Director of the CIA, and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs.
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