On Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump announced that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley would be joining his cabinet as ambassador to the United Nations.
Haley, the daughter of two Indian immigrants, is the first female and the first non-white Trump has selected for a position in his administration.
Haley supported Marco Rubio during the presidential primaries and is well known for her criticism of Donald Trump. Her obvious dislike for Trump kept her off the billionaire’s list of vice presidential candidates, but many believe that he considered her for the position of Secretary of State.
Haley delivered the official GOP rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union Address in January, where she noted Trump’s refusal to condemn the Ku Klux Klan and blamed Trump for contributing to “irresponsible talk.”
“The KKK came to South Carolina from out of state to protest on our Statehouse grounds,” said Haley. “I will not stop until we fight a man that chooses not to disavow the KKK. That is not a part of our party. That is not who we are.”
Haley has also slammed Trump for his failure to speak out against white supremacy, even going so far as to say that Trump symbolizes “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president.”
A few months later Haley urged Trump not to take her criticism personally and insisted that the two of them were friends. “I have disagreements with other presidential candidates,” said Haley. “There’s lots of things, but I will say tone matters, message matters, and responsibility matters.”
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) commends Trump for reaching out to former foes like Haley. “I think it’s quite remarkable that he’s looking for talent and not trying to settle old scores,” he said to CNN’s Chris Como.
Trump calls Haley a “proven dealmaker” and feels confident that she can bring people together “regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country.”
“Having served as a governor, she will be able to spot instances where the UN is seeking to curb the sovereign interests of our country,” said Leonard Leo, US delegate to the UN Human Rights Commission under former President George W. Bush. “She is committed to human dignity and will be able to push back on U.N. agendas that elevate abortion over the real human and civil rights atrocities that occur in dictatorships around the world. And she will be a friend to Israel and our own national security interests.”
Haley says she is “honored” to join Donald Trump’s team. If the nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Haley will step down as South Carolina Governor and replace Obama’s UN envoy Samantha Power. Trump endorser Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster will fill the position of South Carolina Governor.