Nikki Haley, the Indian American governor of South Carolina, was tapped by Pres. Donald Trump as his surprise choice for US Ambassador to the United Nations. She had been exceedingly critical of Trump during the Republican primaries, but has become something of his whisperer with hardline positions at the United Nations.
After Trump announced U.S. plans to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, Haley developed a global reputation as a U.N. scold, threatening countries that voted against the United States: “As you consider your vote, I encourage you to know the president and the US take this vote personally. The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those who voted against us”.
Ignoring her threats, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the U.S. action as did the U.N. Security Council, whose resolution was only blocked by a U.S. veto.
The 45-year-old was born to Sikh immigrant parents from Punjab. She was elected governor of South Carolina in November 2010 and reelected in 2014. In a 2010 Newsweek interview, Haley spoke to her Indian roots: “The fact that I happen to be an Indian female, of course that brings a new dynamic. But what I hope it does is cause a conversation in this state where we no longer live by layers, but we live by philosophies.”
Haley is tipped as front runner to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his expected departure in 2018.