Trump picks two women for cabinet posts
Donald Trump on Wednesday named South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a former critic with little foreign policy experience, to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations at a time of uncertainty over America’s international role under his presidency.
Haley, one of two women chosen so far for a job in Trump’s Cabinet, is “a proven dealmaker, and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage,” the Republican presidentelect said in a statement.
The 44-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley represents what some Republicans hope could be the new face of their party: a younger, more diverse generation of leaders.
Haley took Trump strongly to task during the presidential campaign over his harsh rhetoric about illegal immigration and for not speaking forcefully enough against white supremacists.
Trump has chosen mostly male conservatives so far for senior positions as he shapes his administration following his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov 8 election. Trump takes over from Democratic President Barack Obama on Jan 20.
The choice of Haley may be aimed at countering criticism of Trump’s divisive comments about immigrants and minorities, as well as accusations of sexism during his election campaign.
Haley led a successful effort last year to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol after the killing of nine black churchgoers in Charleston. The flag was carried by pro-slavery Confederate forces during the Civil War and is viewed by many as a racist emblem.
Haley said she had accepted Trump’s offer and would remain governor pending her confirmation to the Cabinet-level post by the US Senate.
“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,” she said in a statement.
Trump on Wednesday also picked wealthy Republican donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos to lead the Education Department, saying, “Under her leadership we will reform the US education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families.”
DeVos, a billionaire former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, has long pushed for a larger role for private education. In her own statement, DeVos said, “The status quo in education is not acceptable.”
In a video message released ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, Trump said he hoped the holiday would be an occasion for Americans “to begin to heal our divisions” following a “long and bruising political campaign.”