President-elect Trump has offered South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley the post of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and she has accepted, a CBS News source confirms.
The story was first reported by The Post and Courier and The Washington Post.
Haley would, in effect, be the voice of the Trump administration at the 193-nation world body, if she is confirmed by the Senate, reports CBS News’ Pamela Falk.
Haley, a 44-year-old Republican, is serving her second term in the South Carolina statehouse and is seen as a rising star in the Republican Party. She is the first female named to the Trump Cabinet.
Haley is also the daughter of immigrants, from India.
During the Republican primary, she first backed Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio and criticized Trump on some issues.
And Trump panned her, tweeting in March, “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!”
Falk notes that Haley has been at the forefront of trade and labor issues in South Carolina, and has traveled internationally in recent years to negotiate global economic deals, but this would be her first foray in the federal government and in foreign affairs. At the United Nations, Haley, would face a host of seemingly intractable problems, from violent extremism and nuclear threats to cyber security, world poverty, and foreign entanglements in Syria and Iraq.
The U.N. has had several female ambassadors from the U.S., but the post only became a Cabinet level position for a third time in U.S. history during the Obama administration, Falk points out.
There are just over 4,000 political appointments to be made by the incoming Trump administration. About 1,200 of them will require Senate confirmation — the cabinet secretaries and their deputies, as well as those appointees who will head independent agencies, like the CIA and EPA, for instance. These nominees will go through a vetting process and Senate hearing.
A smaller number — 353 — do not require Senate confirmation — those are largely the White House staff positions, according to the Center for Presidential Transition. Reince Priebus, who has been named chief of staff, and chief White House strategist Steve Bannon fall into this category. The rest either work just below the top appointees or serve in a confidential or policy roles ranging from scheduler to confidential assistant to policy expert.
In recent years, presidents-elect have announced some staff picks in the days immediately following their election, while Cabinet secretaries were often announced later in November or in December.
Wednesday morning, Governor Haley issued the following statement:
Six years ago, South Carolinians bestowed upon me the greatest honor of my life. They took a chance on a little-known, 38-year old, minority, female governor – something our state had never done before. I will be forever grateful, and I expect I will never again receive a higher honor.
In the six years that followed, our state has reached incredible heights. We made South Carolina’s economic development the envy of the nation and brought new jobs to every county. We cut our unemployment rate by more than half, employing more South Carolinians than ever before. We reformed how we fund education, moving more resources to communities in greatest need. We passed landmark ethics reforms that make state government more accountable to our people.
Our state has also persevered through some of the most difficult times. Nature damaged many of us with the thousand-year flood and Hurricane Matthew. Our hearts were broken for those we lost when tragedy struck Walter Scott’s family, Mother Emanuel, and Townville Elementary School. Yet through it all, the greatness of our people overcame those tragedies, even coming together to heal the old wounds represented by the Confederate Flag on the Statehouse grounds.
This month’s elections have brought exciting changes to America. Our country faces enormous challenges here at home and internationally. Last week, President-elect Trump asked if I would meet with him to discuss those challenges, which I was happy to do. He has asked that I serve our country as our next Ambassador to the United Nations. Pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, I have agreed.
I always expected to finish the remaining two years of my second term as governor. Not doing so is difficult because I love serving South Carolina more than anything. I was moved to accept this new assignment for two reasons. The first is a sense of duty. When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed. The second is a satisfaction with all that we have achieved in our state in the last six years and the knowledge that we are on a very strong footing.
I will remain as governor until the U.S. Senate acts affirmatively on my nomination. We still have much to do in South Carolina, and my commitment to the people of our state will always remain unbreakable, both while I continue to hold this office, and thereafter.
In this holiday season, we all have much to be thankful for. Michael and I wish every South Carolinian a joyous Thanksgiving.