On Wednesday Morning, Donald Trump announced that he will nominate Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as the next Ambassador to the United Nations. Read on for more info on Nikki Haley, her relationship to Trump, and the position of UN Ambassador.
Who Is Nikki Haley?
Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to Sikh Indian parents in Bamberg, South Carolina, Nikki Haley is the first female Governor of South Carolina and the youngest current governor in America at 44 years old. Haley began her career in the private sector, helping her mother run the family’s multimillion-dollar upscale clothing business.
In 2004, Haley began her policital career by winning a seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives, becoming the first Indian-American to hold office in South Carolina. In 2010, Haley was elected Governor of South Carolina, and was re-elected in 2014.
Widely considered a “rising star” in the Republican party, Haley has enjoyed a few high-profile moments in the last few years. In 2015, after the Charleston church mass shooting, Haley led a bipartisan call to remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol and its grounds, an effort that was ultimately successful. In 2016, Haley delivered the nationally-televised Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. Later in 2016, Haley made headlines when she refused to support legislation that would require transgender individuals in South Carolina to use restrooms based on biological sex, rather than gender identity.
Politically, Nikki Haley’s views tend toward traditional Republican conservatism. Haley supports strict immigration laws, voter-ID laws requiring photo identification at polling places, low taxes and less regulation on businesses, and describes herself as pro-life, having supported legislation that would have criminalized abortion and imposed mandatory ultrasound viewings and waiting periods on women seeking abortions.
Importantly for her new position, Nikki Haley has almost no foreign policy or national security experience.
Nikki Haley’s Relationship to Donald Trump
During the 2016 Republican primaries and general election, the relationship between Haley and Donald Trump was strained and at times contentious. Gov. Haley originally endorsed Marco Rubio as the Republican nominee, and when Rubio dropped out, Haley then endorsed Ted Cruz. At one point, Haley described Trump as “everything a governor doesn’t want in a President,” and described herself as “not a fan” of the President-elect. Trump went after Haley on Twitter in March 2016, drawing a typically Southern rebuke from her:
However, the two seemed to have mended fences, as Haley has accepted Trump’s nomination to be America’s ambassador to the United Nations.
What Does the UN Ambassador Do?
In practical terms, the UN Ambassador’s main job is to keep the State Department informed about what is going on at the United Nations, and represent United States interests there. The Ambassador makes recommendations to the State Department and the President on what course of action to take.
Because of America’s powerful influence, the American UN Ambassador is often the most visible person at the United Nations besides the Secretary-General, and can shift events there in significant ways. The UN Ambassador can push for (or against) resolutions, affect personnel confirmations, and guide budget planning.
It is difficult to speculate about Nikki Haley’s foreign policy stances, because she has very little foreign policy experience on record. Haley was one of 14 Republican governors who opposed the Iran nuclear agreement, an agreement which is supported by most world leaders, but beyond that, her foreign policy views are largely unknown. However, it is Washington, and Donald Trump, who dictates the policies Haley will advocate as America’s voice in the United Nations.