U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has chosen South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, the first woman tapped for a top-level administration post during his transition to the White House.
The choice was announced on Wednesday by Trump’s transition team.
.@realDonaldTrump to nominate Gov. Haley as UN Ambassador, says “Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together.”
“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,” the Republican president-elect said in a statement.
It will be a cabinet-level position, and Haley has accepted.
“Our country faces enormous challenges here at home and internationally, and I am honoured 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 said in Trump’s release.
Haley, an outspoken Trump critic throughout much of the presidential race, would become his first female — and first non-white — cabinet-level official if confirmed by the Senate. She’s the second Asian-American to serve as a U.S. governor.
Bad blood between Trump and Haley was evident in interviews and on social media.
Trump said in March South Carolinians were “embarrassed” by Haley, while she denounced several of Trump’s campaign comments and urged voters to “reject the siren call of the angriest voices.”
Not all presidents have treated the ambassadorship to the UN as a cabinet-level position, and Republicans have tended not to grant that status.
After secretary of state — a job Trump has not yet filled — the ambassadorship is highest-profile diplomatic position, often serving as the voice for U.S. positions on the international stage. As part of the cabinet, Haley would have more opportunity to shape U.S. policies, rather than simply defend the administration’s positions.
Yet it could be an awkward role at times. Trump campaigned on the theme of “America first” and said he is skeptical about “international unions that tie us up and bring America down.” Trump has also described the United Nations as weak and incompetent.
Haley’s new job clears the way for Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster to step into the role of South Carolina governor. McMaster was an early Trump endorser, backing him before the state’s GOP primary in February.
At the time, Haley campaigned for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, before going on to support Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Despite misgivings about Trump, she met with the president-elect last week at Trump Tower. Afterward, Haley said they’d had a “very nice” conversation.