Politics November 23, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump has picked two women to join his cabinet.
First he tapped South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to be the new United Nations ambassador.
Then he picked Betsy DeVos, a billionaire businesswoman and charter school advocate from Michigan, to be his secretary of Education.
Wednesday’s appointments bring more diversity to the Trump team.
Trump called DeVos “a brilliant and passionate education advocate.” In response, DeVos, 58, said, “I am honored to work with the president-elect on his vision to make American education great again.”
Haley, 44, had been critical of Trump during the election campaign and called him one of the “angriest voices” in politics. But the pair have clearly made up since then.
“Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country,” Trump said.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Haley said she was moved to accept this assignment for two reasons. “The first is a sense of duty. 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. The second is a satisfaction with all that we have achieved in our state in the last six years and the knowledge that we are on a very strong footing.”
Here are five things to know about Nikki Haley, the first woman appointed to Trump’s cabinet.
Nikki Haley is the first woman to serve as the Governor of South Carolina, and at 44-years-old, she’s also the youngest current governor of the United States. Additionally, her multicultural background as the daughter of Indian immigrants makes her the first female minority governor second Indian-American to serve as a U.S. governor.
Before accepting her role as South Carolina governor, Haley worked for FCR Corporation, a waste management and recycling company. She then joined the family clothing business, Exotica International, with her mother and sister in 1994.
Haley was named to the board of directors of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce in 1998. She then she served as the board of directors of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce in 2003. That same year, she became the treasurer of the National Association of Women Business owners in 2003, where she then got promoted as president in 2004.
And in the years following the nation’s economic downturn, Haley used this business background to brand herself as an advocate for bringing more jobs to South Carolina, according to CNN.
Aged just 12, Haley started working as a bookkeeper for Exotica International. The Economist likens her to Margaret Thatcher, another shopkeeper’s daughter turned politician. And according to The Economist, it was on the shop floor rather than in the boardroom that have shaped her “extreme watchfulness about overheads and a sharp aversion to government intrusion.”
In a Vogue cover story, Haley admitted that Hillary Clinton’s 2003 speech at a local university inspired her to run for governor. “[Hillary Clinton] said there will be all of these reasons that people tell you you can’t do it,” Haley said. “She said that there’s only one reason for you to do it, and it’s because you know it’s the right thing. I walked out of there thinking, I’ve got to do this.”
Haley has gotten backlash rom Republicans for crediting Clinton in the past, but she’s also quick to reassure them that when it comes to policy, her role model is Margaret Thatcher.
“This is not about making friends or having people like me,” Haley told Vogue in 2012. “It’s about producing results for the people of this state.”
This mentality also shows in how she wasn’t afraid to rebuke Trump during the Republican nomination campaign. In the Republican rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Haley called out Trump’s “irresponsible talk.” She later faults him for not condemning white supremacist groups.
In October, she said that she would vote for Trump, but she was “not a fan.”
Haley will continue to serve as South Carolina governor until the Senate acts on the nomination. “We still have much to do in South Carolina, and my commitment to the people of our state will always remain unbreakable, both while I continue to hold this office, and thereafter,” Haley said in her statement.
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