The US senate confirmed Nikki Haley as the next ambassador to the United Nations, a position of cabinet rank that an Indian-American will hold for the first time in the country’s history. The Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by a decisive margin Tuesday as Republican-led committees paved the way for three more of his Cabinet nominees to be approved just days into the new administration.
She won praise from Democrats during her confirmation hearing last week, where she freely aired disagreements with Trump on some policy matters and said that the new president would welcome a range of views. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Haley is a proven leader who will be a “fierce advocate” at the U.N. for American interests.
Haley, who had been critical of Trump as a candidate, voiced heavy skepticism about Russia and optimism about NATO, both deviations from some of Trump’s statements. She unequivocally rejected the idea of a Muslim registry or ban, which Trump has never fully disavowed. She also declared her support for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a shift that Arab leaders have previously said could ignite violence in the Middle East.
Haley – born Nimrata Randhawa to a Sikh family – is the fifth Indian-American to be appointed to a senior position in the Trump administration until now. The others are Seema Verma, who will head medicare and medicaid; Ajit Pai, to head the Federal Communication Commission; and Raj Shah, to the White House. The fifth, Preet Bharara, will continue to hold office as the US attorney for the southern district of New York – which has jurisdiction over US financial hub Wall Street – from the Obama administration.