Politics & Government

Senate committee approves Haley for U.N. ambassador


The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday approved the nomination of South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley to be the ambassador to the United Nations.

Haley, who has no foreign policy experience, was approved by the committee by voice vote, with two Democrats objecting to her. The nomination will now be sent to the full Senate, where she is expected to be confirmed.

Haley’s approval comes a day after the same committee approved the nomination of former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state. His nomination passed on party lines, with all 11 Republicans voting in favor and the committee’s 10 Democrats opposing him. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who during the confirmation hearing harshly questioned Tillerson on Russia and human rights around the world, cast the deciding vote after publicly wavering on whether he would support the businessman.

In a lengthy statement posted on Facebook, Rubio said not all of Tillerson’s answers during the hearing were satisfactory and he is concerned “our country will not give the defense of democracy and human rights the priority they deserve.”

Haley’s post at the U.N. will put her at the center of many of those international debates, particularly the crisis in Syria and Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea. The U.S. and Russia both hold veto-wielding seats on the U.N. Security Council, making it necessary for the two countries to work together to solve a host of global crises. The body has been largely ineffective at stopping the Syrian civil war, in part because Russia continually blocks resolutions aimed at ending the conflict.

During her confirmation hearing, Haley impressed the committee with her hard line against Russia, a country of concern for many senators outraged by Moscow’s meddling in the presidential election. She broke with President Donald Trump in condemning Russia and said she believed the country’s actions in Syria constituted war crimes. Tillerson refused to make the same claim in his confirmation hearing.

Haley also vowed to protect Israel in the U.N., criticizing a recent action from the Obama administration that allowed a resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction to pass.

Haley was elected governor of South Carolina in 2010 and reelected in 2014. She is the daughter of Indian immigrants.