Donald Trump on Wednesday named South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a former critic with little foreign policy experience, as 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 president-elect said in a statement.
Trump on Wednesday also picked wealthy Republican donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos to lead the Education Department.
Haley, the 44-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants, represents what some Republicans hope could be the new face of their party: a younger, more diverse generation of leaders.[caption id="attachment_36105" align="alignright" width="350"] This file photo taken on November 14, 2014 shows Governor of the US State of South Carolina Nikki Haley at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. AFP[/caption]
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 November 8 election. Trump takes over from Democratic President Barack Obama on January 20.
Also on Wednesday, a spokesman for former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Trump had not offered the retired neurosurgeon the post of housing and urban development secretary, disputing a Wall Street Journal report, which the newspaper later corrected.
Carson told Fox News on Wednesday night- "We are considering which is the way that I can be most effective. So that information should come out in the next few days. We will make a public announcement."
The Wall Street Journal, citing two people familiar with the deliberations, also reported that Trump was expected to pick billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary.
In a video message released ahead of the US Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, Trump said he hoped it would be a time for Americans "to begin to heal our divisions" following a "long and bruising political campaign."
"Emotions are raw and tensions just don’t heal overnight," Trump said. "Now begins a great national campaign to rebuild our country and to restore the full promise of America for all of our people."
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.
Haley's job may include reassuring allies worried about some of Trump's campaign promises, including building a wall along the US-Mexican border to curb illegal immigration and reviewing trade agreements, and his suggestion that he would push Nato partners to pay more for their own defence.
?Infiltrated: Watch Nimrata @NikkiHaley & her headscarf culture while taking away the Souths flag #BoycottHamilton pic.twitter.com/wnUouGugh4 — Vegas4Trump (@trump2016fan) November 19, 2016