Washington: Nikki Haley was picked up by president-elect Donald Trump to serve as US ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday, becoming first Indian-American to be appointed to a cabinet-level post in the US administration.
The 44-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley is first woman tapped by Trump for a top-level administration post during his transition to the White House. Citing a source familiar with the decision, CNN reported that president-elect Trump has picked South Carolina’s governor Haley to be the US ambassador to the United Nations. The move, which will be announced later on Wednesday, comes as Trump advisers are seeking to diversify his ranks and marks his first female appointment to a cabinet-level post, The Washington Post reported.
Trump’s plan to offer the job to Haley, a rising Republican star, was first reported by the Post and Courier. Haley has already carved out a legacy for herself, serving as her home state’s first female and first minority governor. Haley, who is serving her second term, has worked on trade and labour issues as 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 Haley on Thursday at Trump Tower in New York as part of the round of meetings the president-elect has held. With her appointment to the top diplomatic post in UN, Haley has become the first woman and minority to join Trump’s administration. She would replace Samantha Power. She would also be the first ever Indian-American cabinet rank official in any administration. The Cabinet position would require confirmation by the Senate.
Haley was critical of Trump during the primary campaign and had backed Senator Marco Rubio in the Republican primary. However, before the general elections, she switched her position, saying she would vote for Trump. Born Nimrata “Nikki” Randhawa, Haley is the first minority and female governor of South Carolina, a deeply conservative state with a long history of racial strife.