Trump Taps Gov. Nikki Haley for UN Ambassador

by | November 23, 2016

By Laura Figueroa

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as his pick for United Nations ambassador, according to media reports early Wednesday.

The Post and Courier, a newspaper in Haley's home state, reported just after midnight that Haley was offered the position. The Washington Post, citing sources familiar with the selection process, reported that she has accepted Trump's offer.

Trump's transition team did not immediately respond to emails from Newsday seeking comment early Wednesday.

Haley, an early backer of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in the GOP primary, met with Trump last Thursday in Trump Tower, shrouded by speculation that she was under consideration for secretary of state.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Haley described the president-elect as "a friend," despite making critical remarks about his campaign rhetoric earlier in the year, and denouncing his calls to ban Muslims from entering the country as part of a counterterrorism strategy.

"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," Haley told reporters. "When we met, it was friends who had known each other before."

Haley's nomination would make her the first woman Trump has tapped to his cabinet, and would add diversity to the current roster of nominees that includes Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama for attorney general, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for National Security adviser, Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff; and Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist.

Haley, 44, the daughter of Indian immigrants, has been regarded as a rising star in the GOP. She was tapped to deliver the Republican Party's response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in January.

Her State of the Union response took aim at Trump without naming him -- she urged Americans to "resist" the "siren call of the angriest voices," and added that "some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference."

Haley endorsed Rubio during South Carolina's February primary, which Trump won. The real estate mogul attacked Haley on Twitter soon after, when she called on him to release his tax returns.

"The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!" Trump wrote in a March 1 post. She replied, "Bless your heart" via Twitter.

After Rubio dropped his bid, Haley endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for the Republican nomination.

The governor, currently serving in her second term, successfully led an effort to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House last year, after a white gunman shot and killed nine black parishioners at a predominantly black Charleston church.

(c)2016 Newsday