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Trump Taps Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador

by Sandy Fitzgerald
(United States)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been picked by President-elect Donald Trump for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, his transition team announced Wednesday.


"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 the 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, the daughter of Indian immigrants, met in New York with President-elect Donald Trump last week. The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., first reported the appointment.

Haley, who opposed some of Trump's key positions, is the first woman picked for a cabinet-level post in his administration.

The governor is in her second term of office. She brings little by the way of foreign policy experience, reports the newspaper, but has worked on trade and labor issues, and she holds "hawkish" views on the military and national security. She has taken at least eight trips overseas since she took office in 2011.

If Haley is confirmed for the cabinet-level post, she'll be replaced in South Carolina by Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster, who is a top Trump ally. Haley herself was often critical of Trump during the primary election, choosing to back first Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and then Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Trump and Haley feuded early in 2016, reports NBC, after Haley criticized Trump during her GOP response to President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address, warning against "the siren call of the angriest voices."

She also criticized Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, along with some of his other proposals.

However, Haley told reporters last week, after she visited Trump, that she considered him a "friend and supporter" before he ran for the presidency, and said he'd been kind to her then.

"When I see something I am uncomfortable with, I say it,”"she said. "When we met, it was friends who had known each other before."

Haley won national praise for how she handled the Charleston church shooting, followed by flooding just four months apart, and for persuading South Carolina lawmakers to remove a Confederate battle flag that had flown over the grounds at the Statehouse for over 50 years.

If confirmed, Haley will succeed Samantha Power, who took office in 2013.

Haley also had been under consideration for secretary of state, McMaster said last week.

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