In the first woman appointment to Trump's administration, South Carolina Govenor Nikki Haley has accepted the president-elect's offer to be his ambassador to the United Nations, NBC News reported this morning. The daughter of immigrants from India, Haley served three terms in South Carolina's State House before winning the governorship in 2010 and again in 2014. A two-term governor, Haley, 44, initially backed Trump rivals Sen. Marco Rubio and then Sen. Ted Cruz during the GOP battle for a White House nominee.
She is the first woman in the state's history to hold the role and only the nation's second Asian-American governor.
If confirmed, Haley would succeed Samantha Power, who served as President Barack Obama's U.N. ambassador since 2013, and who has been the most vocal opponent of the Russian regime's overtures in the United Nations.
Haley has little direct foreign policy experience. She has spent time overseas negotiating trade deals for South Carolina businesses, but she has never served in a roll directly related to American foreign policy, or any other role in the federal government. As such, she is likely to draw scrutiny during Senate confirmation hearings for the Cabinet-level position. Haley would be the first ambassador since Madeleine Albright never to have served in any other role in the federal government before heading to Turtle Bay.
In what has been dubbed a "remarkable" shift in the president-elect's mindset, Trump's selection of Haley caps a dramatic year for their political relationship. They started 2016 with a fight and are ending it as allies in a nascent Trump administration, suggesting that far from bearing grudges Trump is willing to reconcile in the name of national interests.
The pair feuded in January after Haley's Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union, during which she took a thinly-veiled swipe at Trump, warning against "the siren call of the angriest voices." Haley told Matt Lauer the following morning that then-candidate Trump "has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk."
"If we have citizens who are law-abiding, who love our traditions, who do everything to be productive citizens in America, they should feel welcome in this country," Haley said. "The reason this country is so great is because the fabric of this country was made by immigrants, and its legal immigrants."
In February, she called Trump "everything a governor doesn't want in a president." The following month Haley endorsed Rubio in the South Carolina primary. Following Rubio's loss and subsequent withdrawal from the race, Haley said it was her "hope and prayer" tha Cruz would win the Republican nomination.
By the Republican National Convention in July, though, Haley had warmed enough to Trump to say she planned to vote for him in a tepid endorsement to MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff.
"I would not be here if I didn't want to make sure that Hillary [Clinton] was not going to be the next president," Haley said in July.
Haley is married to a captain in the Army National Guard who served in Afghanistan, and has two teenage children, according to her biography on the state's website.
As The Hill adds, back in South Carolina, Haley's selection will have a significant impact on the race to replace her in 2018. If Haley becomes the next ambassador to the United Nations, she would be succeeded by Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster (R), who has had his own conversations with the incoming Trump administration. cMaster, the first major South Carolina politician to back Trump during the primaries, had considered running to replace Haley when term limits barred her from a third term in 2018. If Haley were to leave the state before her term expires, McMaster would likely get a leg up on a potentially crowded primary in 2018.