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Trump picks South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as UN envoy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (Photo by AFP)

US President-elect Donald Trump has picked South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, one of his most vocal critics during the presidential campaign, as US ambassador to the United Nations, sources say.

Haley, who had endorsed Trump’s primary election rivals Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, has accepted the UN role, US media reported Wednesday, citing sources close to Trump’s transition team.

Born from Indian immigrant parents, Haley would be the first non-white female who has been given a cabinet-level position in the Trump administration.

Haley is the youngest governor in the US and is generally viewed as an up-and-coming star in the Republican Party.

The 44-year-old is South Carolina’s first-ever female governor and America’s second-ever Asian-American governor.

However, Haley has limited experience in foreign policy, an issue that is likely to draw some scrutiny from the Senate during confirmation hearings.

If confirmed, Haley would replace Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s ambassador to the UN since 2013.

During the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Haley took issue with Trump’s immigration policies.

Trump has pledged to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the US.

US President-elect Donald Trump (Photo by AFP)

Haley said in January that the New York businessman “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 then. “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.”

She initially endorsed Rubio and supported him until his withdrawal from the race. Haley subsequently backed Cruz, saying it was her “hope and prayer” that the Texas senator wins the nomination.

When Trump defeated Cruz and became the nominee, Haley said she would only vote for Trump “to make sure that [Democratic nominee] Hillary [Clinton] was not going to be the next president.”

Haley’s biography on South Carolina’s website states that she is married to an Army National Guard captain and together they have two children.

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