WASHINGTON (AP) – President-elect Donald Trump has chosen South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the first woman he has tapped during his transition.
That’s according to two sources familiar with Trump’s decision, who requested anonymity to discuss the decision ahead of the announcement.
Haley was an outspoken Trump critic throughout much of the presidential race. If confirmed by the Senate, she would become the first female – and first non-white – Cabinet-level official in the Trump administration. She’s the second Asian-American to serve as a U.S. governor. Trump plans to treat the job as a Cabinet-level position, according to the sources.
Despite her misgivings about Trump, she met with the president-elect last week at Trump Tower. Afterward, Haley said they’d had a “very nice” conversation.
Gov. Haley released 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.”