COLUMBIA — S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley announced Wednesday that she will accept the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, a move that has garnered praise from around the state and the nation.
“This month’s elections have brought exciting changes to America,” Haley said in a statement. “Our country faces enormous challenges here at home and internationally. Last week, President-elect (Donald) Trump asked if I would meet with him to discuss those challenges, which I was happy to do. He has asked that I serve our country as our next Ambassador to the United Nations. Pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, I have agreed.”
Haley, who was elected governor six years ago, said South Carolina voters took a chance on her and for that, she is grateful.
“Six years ago, South Carolinians bestowed upon me the greatest honor of my life. They took a chance on a little-known, 38-year old, minority, female governor – something our state had never done before,” she said. “I will be forever grateful, and I expect I will never again receive a higher honor.”
Haley said that South Carolina’s economic development has become the envy of the nation, new jobs have been brought to every county and the unemployment rate has been cut by more than half.
“We reformed how we fund education, moving more resources to communities in greatest need. We passed landmark ethics reforms that make state government more accountable to our people,” she said.
South Carolina has also had its share of hard times and tragedy.
“Nature damaged many of us with the thousand-year flood and Hurricane Matthew. Our hearts were broken for those we lost when tragedy struck Walter Scott’s family, Mother Emanuel, and Townville Elementary School,” she said. “Yet through it all, the greatness of our people overcame those tragedies, even coming together to heal the old wounds represented by the Confederate Flag on the Statehouse grounds.”
Haley said that while she always expected to finish the remaining two years of her second term as governor, she also has a sense of duty to serve.
“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.
Haley said she will remain governor until the U.S. Senate acts affirmatively on her nomination.
U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) lauded Trump’s choice.
“Governor Haley is a tremendous leader, and South Carolina is grateful for her service,” Scott said in support of the nomination. “I have no doubt she will serve America well through defending and sharing our values and strengthening our relationships with Israel and other allies. I look forward to her confirmation process.”
Matt Moore, chairman of the S.C. Republican Party, said Trump’s intent to nominate Haley as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations shows how far South Carolina has come.
“Governor Haley’s appointment as U.N. Ambassador shows how far our state has come and how far our nation can go in the 21st century. I couldn’t be more proud that the whole world will get to see Nikki Haley’s strong, principled leadership in action,” Moore said.
Congressman Jeff Duncan said Trump’s nomination of Haley shows his commitment to build a team that is deep in talent and rich in diversity.
“The President-Elect’s willingness to surround himself with people who will speak their mind and share differing opinions is a testament to the leadership skills that made him so successful in the private sector,” Duncan said. “I have known Governor Haley since our time serving together in the SC General Assembly, and I have no doubt that she has the temperament, intelligence, and experience to be successful in this important position.
“Anyone who has been to South Carolina knows how connected we are to the global economy, with businesses like Boeing, BMW, Michelin, and Volvo making our state their home,” he added. “In order for our state to become the economic success story that is talked about throughout the country, Nikki Haley has had to think globally from her first day in office. She’s traveled the world to encourage businesses to relocate to South Carolina, and in the process has proven herself to be a skilled negotiator.”