Gov. Nikki Haley will accept a position in President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration, according to Trump’s campaign, trading the Governor’s Mansion for a seat in the United Nations.
Trump’s transition team confirmed his decision to pick Haley in a statement on Wednesday.
“Our country faces enormous challenges here at home and internationally, and I am honored that the President-elect has asked me to join his team and serve the country we love as the next Ambassador to the United Nations,” Haley said in a statement.
Haley, the American-born daughter of Indian immigrants, would be the first woman and minority to confirm a new job in Trump’s administration.
The announcement would mean Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster is next in line to succeed Haley as the 117th Governor of South Carolina. Haley indicated she would remain in office until the Senate confirms her for the position, which would not happen until Trump takes office in January. Once she does resign to take the new job, McMaster would serve out the rest of her term until 2018.
“Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country,” Trump said in a statement.
The appointment would have been remarkable just weeks ago, since Haley was hardly Trump’s ally during the Republican primary or even the general election. The governor first backed Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in the primary, then U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. She also repeatedly criticized Trump’s positions on refugee bans and urged voters not to follow “the siren call of the angriest voices” in her State of the Union response, although she told reporters she voted for the Republican on Election Day.
Trump had his own comebacks for Haley’s criticism, even tweeting in March that “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!” (after sending out an earlier tweet that misspelled the governor’s name.
Her selection also was a bit surprising given her lack of foreign policy experience beyond some business recruiting trips as governor to Europe and India. But the rumor mill started up last week after Haley met with Trump in New York, leading to speculation she could be Secretary of State. Then more rumors slipped out Tuesday that Trump was considering the governor for UN ambassador.
Haley would replace current UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who has been in the position since 2013.