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The Hindu, November 23, 2016
Born as Nimrata ‘Nikki’ Randhawa to Indian immigrants from Punjab, she became the first female governor in South Carolina. Ms. Haley is the second Asian American to become the Governor of a State after Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. At 44, she’s the youngest current Governor in the U.S..
In the 2016 presidential race, Ms. Haley first endorsed Florida senator Marco Rubio. After Mr. Rubio suspended his campaign, she endorsed Ted Cruz for President.
Ms. Haley, who is serving her second term, has worked on trade and labour issues as the Governor but brings little foreign policy experience. Her views on various US military and national security matters usually fall within the Republican Party’s hawkish mainstream.
Mr. Trump met with Mr. Haley last Thursday at the Trump Tower in New York as a part of the round of meetings the president-elect has held.
The Post and Courier noted that Ms. Haley has taken at least eight trips abroad since taking office in 2011, including visits to Germany.
Ms. Haley would replace Samantha Power as the next US Ambassador to the UN, The Wall Street Journal reported.
She would also be the first ever Indian-American Cabinet rank official in any administration.
The Cabinet position would require confirmation by the Senate.
Reports also said that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a mS. Haley ally, is said to be Mr. Trump’s likely choice for Secretary of State, a position Ms. Haley was previously speculated for last week.
“The planned nomination to the Cabinet-level post, confirmed by multiple sources with knowledge of the decision, is likely to raise questions about Ms. Haley’s qualifications for a major foreign policy role since she has little diplomatic experience as state lawmaker and governor,” the daily said.
Ms. Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, was a vocal critic of the real estate mogul on the campaign trail. She later voted for Mr. Trump, lamenting that she was “not a fan” of either candidate.
Born Nimrata “Nikki” Randhawa, Ms. Haley is the first minority and female Governor of South Carolina, a deeply conservative State with a long history of racial strife.
She has been characterised as a rising star within the Republican Party.
A brief biographical sketch
Becomes 1st Indian-Origin Person To Get Cabinet-Level Post In US
A daughter of Sikh immigrants to the United States has become president-elect Donald Trump's first female cabinet-level nominee. South Carolina governor Nikki Haley , born Nimrata Randhawa, will be the Trump administration pick for ambassador to the United Nations, his transition team announced on Wednesday.
“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, announcing his choice for the crucial post. “She is also a proven dealmaker, and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage.“
On her part, Haley , 44, accepted the nomination and said she was “honoured“ for the chance to serve the country as the UN ambassador. She has to be confirmed by the Senate.
Like many things with Trump, there was ring of mendacity and posturing around the development. Trump had mocked Haley during the presidential campaign because she hadn't supported him (she backed Marco Rubio, another Republican aspirant), at one point tweeting, “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!“ That came after Haley had called on Americans not to “follow the siren call of the angriest voices“, in an oblique reference to Trump's campaign style.
But Trump's bench strength is so weak t that he is having to reach out even to his ad versaries, with both sides making a virtue of patching up after having called each other names. Haley was originally sounded out for secretary of state, but she is a relative novice even for the UN job.
Trump meanwhile is tapping an even more hardline critic, Mitt Romney , for the secretary of state, despite the latter having calling him a fraud and a phony.
But while Haley's foreign policy resume is thin, pitching her into the UN as the US envoy serves Trump the purpose of appointing a woman and a minority to a position that will be high-profile on the international stage, but will be relatively insignificant from the domestic stand point.It will also serve the purpose of elevating Trump loyalist Lt Gov Henry McMaster to the governor's post.
The politics of the Trump appointment aside, becoming the first IndianAmerican cabinet-level appointee is tremendous story for a first generation immigrant family of Sikh faith.
The story goes that when When Ajit Randhawa's daughters Simmi and Nikki entered the Little Miss Bamberg school pageant in the small South Carolina town in the 1970s, the community was confused.They elected only a white queen and a black queen, and the Randhawa kids, immigrant children from Punjab, were neither.Undeterred, 5-year-old Nikki, belted out the Woody Guthrie epic “This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to New York Island,“ the ultimate folksy tribute to Americana, before stomping off.
Nikki would eventually go on to marry Michael Haley in both a Methodist church and a Sikh gurdwara ceremony , later identifying herself as a Christian.The couple has two children, Rena and Nalin. Haley's brother Mitti was an active duty officer who served in the US Army for 20 years, and her husband too has served in Afghanistan.
Life in India
Mother denied judgeship for being woman
Women have been judges in the country since at least 1937.
Nikki Haley, the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has claimed that her mother was not allowed to be a judge in India because she was a woman, while in fact women have been judges in the country since at least 1937.
Answering a question about the role of women at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday, she said, “When you didn’t have a lot of education in India, my mother actually was able to go to law school. And she was actually put up to be one of the first female judges in India, but because of the situation with women she wasn’t allowed to sit on the bench.”
“But how amazing for her to watch her daughter become Governor of South Carolina and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.,” she added.
Parents emigrated in the 1960s
Ms. Haley’s parents, Ajit Singh and Raj Kaur Randhwa, reportedly emigrated from India in the 1960s. But more than two decades earlier a woman, Anna Chandy, had become a judge in Travancore in pre-Independence India.
Chandy was promoted to District Judge in 1948, the year after Independence, and became a High Court judge in 1959. Chandy was able to sit on the bench and function as a judge all through — years before Ms. Haley’s parents left India.
U.N. Ambassador is a cabinet-level position in the U.S. and Ms. Haley is the first Indian-American to reach that position. A Republican, she was the elected Governor of South Carolina state in 2010.
Ms. Haley has said that she is “proud” to be the daughter of Indian immigrants who believe the family is “blessed” to be American.
Coming to Trumpism
Prefacing her answer to a question about President Donald Trump’s attempts to temporarily restrict people from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees coming to the U.S., she said, “I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants, who reminded my brothers, my sister and me every day how blessed we were to be in this country.”
“I do believe that the fabric of America is legal immigration. That is what makes the U.S. so fantastic,” she said.
Ms. Haley’s father is an agricultural scientist and a professor, while her mother is a businesswoman.
‘His ban not religion-based’
Ms. Haley denied that Mr. Trump’s travel ban was based on religion and pointed out that several Muslim-majority countries were not covered by it.
“I don’t think that’s what this is,” she said. “If that were the case, there are another dozen, you know, Muslim countries that could have been on the list.”
She said that nothing should be banned based on religion. “We will never close our doors in the U.S. We won’t. But what we did do was take a pause.”
Because of the difficulty to properly vet people from those six countries and the refugees, Mr. Trump had wanted the temporary ban.
“This is not about not wanting people in,” she said adding that it was about keeping the terrorists out.
She noted that her husband, Michael Haley, a captain in the Army National Guard who served in Afghanistan, helped two Afghan interpreters and their families immigrate to the U.S.
The difference was that they could be properly vetted, but it was not possible in all refugees cases and the administration was stopping them till the problem could be resolved.
A U.S. court has stayed Mr. Trump’s orders temporarily banning people from six countries coming to the U.S.
Flaunting her Indian connection
I am the daughter of Indian parents who said to me 'whatever you do, be great at it': Nikki Haley
Haley made it clear that President Donald Trump had not offered her the secretary of state position
UNITED NATIONS: US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has said she discussed becoming secretary of state with Donald Trump after his election but the US president ultimately did not offer her the job.
Haley, a rising star in the Trump administration, told a news conference on Monday she had no ambition beyond her current post at the United Nations+ , for the time being.
"Every position I've ever had, people have assumed that I am looking toward something bigger, when in reality I am the daughter of Indian parents who said to me 'whatever you do, be great at it and make sure people remember you for it.'"
"That is all I have ever known how to be is to try and just do my job to the best of my ability and if that comes out blunt and if that comes out strong -- I'm one of two brothers and a sister -- my parents raised us all to be strong," she said.
Haley was born Nimrata Randhawa to Ajit Singh Randhawa and mother Raj Kaur Randhawa, who had emigrated from Punjab to Canada and then to the US in the 1960s.
Her father had been a professor at the Punjab Agricultural University, and her mother had received her law degree from the University of Delhi.
Haley, in 2017, scripted history by becoming the first-ever Indian-American to be appointed to a cabinet-level post in any US administration.
Asked about reports that she had turned down the post of secretary of state in November, Haley made clear that Trump had not offered her the position.
"The original call that I received to go to Trump Tower was to discuss secretary of state," she said. "No, he did not offer it."
"It was the discussion that we were having at the time. So, when we went in, that was the position that we were discussing."
Politico reported that Haley had turned down president-elect Trump's offer to become secretary of state during a November 17 meeting, telling him that she lacked the foreign policy experience.
A former governor of South Carolina, Haley is seen as a skilled politician whose stint at the United Nations could serve as a springboard to a more powerful role in US politics.
Haley has been a leading voice on the US administration's foreign policy, in contrast to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who has held a low profile.
The US ambassador dismissed a suggestion that she was outshining Tillerson, describing the US chief diplomat as a "great partner" and stressing "we work well together."
2016: In the Cabinet
The Hindu, November 23, 2016
Trump chooses Nikki Haley as US Ambassador to UN
The South Carolina Governor will be the first woman and minority in Trump's Cabinet. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the first woman tapped for a top-level administration post during his White House transition so far.
The move comes as Mr. Trump's advisers are seeking to diversify his ranks and marks his first female appointment to a Cabinet-level post, The Washington Post reported.
Mr. Trump’s plan to offer the job to Haley, a rising Republican star and daughter of Indian immigrants, was first reported by The Washington Post and Courier.
Giant leap for Haley
“The move, expected Wednesday, continues the steep political rise of the daughter of Indian immigrants that started six years ago when the Bamberg native was elected as South Carolina’s first female and minority governor,” the leading newspaper of South Carolina had said.