Indian American Nikki Haley was on Tuesday voted almost unanimously by the United States Senate as ambassador to the United Nations. The appointment of the South Carolina Governor as ambassador to the UN, means sending a Republican to represent President Donald Trump at an institution he has criticised.
While 96 senators supported her, only four opposed including Democratic Senators Tom Udall, Chris Coons and Martin Heinrich, and Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. The 45-year-old impressed lawmakers during her confirmation hearing. She promised to press for UN reforms but also fight for human rights and support international institutions.
Haley has only held office in the state where she has been governor since 2011. She attracted attention in 2015 when she secured the removal of the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s capitol grounds after a white supremacist killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston.
She did not endorse Trump during the presidential primaries and claimed that some of his most inflammatory statements promoted hate.
During her confirmation hearing, Haley seconded criticism of the 193-nation organization by Trump and many of their fellow Republicans. She called for a close look at US spending on the United Nations and blasted what she called its bias against Israel. Washington provides 22 percent of the U.N. budget.
The United States and its frequent rivals Russia and China all hold permanent seats on the UN Security Council, along with US allies Britain and France. Haley won plaudits at her hearing for promising to stand up to Russia and agreeing that its actions, including bombing hospitals in Syria, should be considered war crimes.