South Carolina gov and Trump critic Ha­ley picked for UN job

Mogul picks first woman for his cabi­net

Kuwait Times - - NEWS -

PALM BEACH, Florida:

Don­ald Trump chose a Repub­li­can critic to join his cabi­net yes­ter­day, the first woman on his top team af­ter his early picks re­warded cam­paign loy­al­ists. Trump’s nom­i­na­tion of South Carolina’s 44-year-old gov­er­nor, Nikki Ha­ley, as US am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions will be seen as a sign he is ready to broaden his po­lit­i­cal base. It came amid re­ports that he is also con­sid­er­ing for­mer Mas­sachusetts gov­er­nor Mitt Rom­ney, an­other harsh cam­paign critic, this time for the key post of sec­re­tary of state.

And it fol­lowed a cor­dial chat be­tween Trump and the New York Times, a news­pa­per he con­sid­ers hos­tile, in which he soft­ened his stance on cli­mate change, tor­ture and pros­e­cut­ing his de­feated ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton. The 70-year-old property ty­coon told the Times that he is “se­ri­ously, se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing” ap­point­ing widely-re­spected re­tired Ma­rine gen­eral James Mat­tis as his de­fense sec­re­tary. Trump’s tran­si­tion team spokes­men told re­porters that an­other “cabi­net level” ap­point­ment may be made later Wed­nes­day, but of­fered no de­tails as to who it might be.

The UN am­bas­sador post is of cabi­net rank and if Ha­ley a staunch con­ser­va­tive with no for­eign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence is con­firmed by the Se­nate she will be­come a pow­er­ful fig­ure in world diplo­macy, de­spite pre­vi­ously clash­ing with Trump. The daugh­ter of In­dian im­mi­grants, and the first woman tapped for Trump’s cabi­net, Ha­ley will also in­ject a mea­sure of di­ver­sity in a group that un­til now has con­sisted solely of white men.

Last year, af­ter a white su­prem­a­cist murdered nine black church­go­ers in South Carolina, Ha­ley sup­ported a de­ci­sion by leg­is­la­tors to re­move the Con­fed­er­ate flag from the state house. The de­ci­sion drew protests from racist groups and this year, while cam­paign­ing for Trump’s ri­val in the pri­maries Marco Ru­bio, Ha­ley called Trump out for his fail­ure to re­pu­di­ate the Ku Klux Klan. “I will not stop un­til we fight a man that chooses not to dis­avow the KKK. That is not a part of our party. That is not who we are,” she de­clared.

Trump, true to form, re­sponded with one of his trade­mark Twit­ter in­sults, declar­ing: “The peo­ple of South Carolina are em­bar­rassed by Nikki Ha­ley!” Trump’s choice last week of the self-de­scribed “eco­nomic na­tion­al­ist” Steve Ban­non, head of the right-wing news plat­form Bre­it­bart, as his chief strate­gist de­lighted white su­prem­a­cists. But on Tues­day, af­ter video emerged of fans of the so-called alt-right mak­ing straight-armed salutes and chant­ing “Heil Trump”, the pres­i­dent-elect dis­avowed the move­ment.

Cam­paign Rhetoric

As he works with his ad­vis­ers in his lux­ury Mar-a-Lago golf re­sort out­side Palm Beach, all eyes will be on the ap­point­ments he makes for a sign of the di­rec­tion his administration will take. When Trump’s Nov 8 elec­tion vic­tory still seemed an un­likely prospect, many Repub­li­can and con­ser­va­tive pol­icy ex­perts con­demned his anti-Mus­lim rhetoric, his affin­ity for Rus­sia or his iso­la­tion­ist and pro­tec­tion­ist po­si­tions.

Many of these fig­ures are now moderating their tone and look­ing for work, whether they are lured by the prospect of a pow­er­ful job or are keen to serve US in­ter­ests as a moderating in­flu­ence in­side a Trump administration. The for­mer Iraq and Afghan war com­man­der, re­tired gen­eral David Pe­traeus - who re­signed as head of the CIA af­ter he was caught shar­ing clas­si­fied data with his mistress - made his pitch yes­ter­day. “If you’re asked, you’ve got to serve, put aside any reser­va­tions based on cam­paign rhetoric, and fig­ure out what’s best for the coun­try,” he told BBC Ra­dio. — AFP

Peo­ple and seag­ulls bathe in the sea as the sun goes up with red col­ors in Stral­sund close to the Baltic Sea is­land of Ru­gen early yes­ter­day. — AFP

Nikki Ha­ley

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