New York–Setting aside their campaign feuds, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley had a “good meeting” here on Thursday amid speculation that she is being considered for the job of secretary of state or other cabinet positions.
“They had a good discussion, and she is very encouraged about the coming administration and the new direction it will bring to Washington,” her spokesperson Rob Godfrey said after the meeting.
Trump’s former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was noncommittal about a position for Haley in the Trump administration. “We’re just happy to have her here for her advice and counsel and to hear about the great success story of South Carolina,” she told reporters.
If Republican Haley gets a cabinet job, she would be the first Indian American to ascend to that level marking a historic milestone for the community in a year that saw a political breakthrough.
Democrat California Attorney General Kamala Harris became the first Indian American elected to the Senate. Three Indian Americans, Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois, Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, and Ro Khanna of California won seats on the House of Representatives, where they will join fellow-Democrat Ami Bera of California, who was re-elected.
However, a late development cast a shadow on Haley’s hopes for America’s top diplomatic job. The Republican presidential candidate in 2012, Mitt Romney, was scheduled to meet Trump over the weekend. He has said that the only job he would be interested in was secretary of state, leading to new intense media speculation that he may be up for the job.
Like Haley, Romney has been a vehement critic of Trump during the campaign – and in turn was hammered by Trump. While Haley said towards the end of the campaign that she would vote for Trump, although she had reservations, Romney did not take back his assertion that he would never vote for the Republican nominee.
Trump, who ran a scorch earth campaign, is now reaching out to his critics in an attempt douse the flames discord he had flamed.
Speculations about Trump’s cabinet choices have been rapidly changing. First reports said that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former UN Permanent Representative John Bolton were the front runners for secretary of state. Both came under criticism for their advocacy of aggressive foreign intervensions in contrast to Trump’s own cautious policy.
On Wednesday, when Haley’s meeting with Trump was scheduled, CNN and MSNBC independently quoted unnamed sources in the Trump transition team as saying that she was being considered for the foreign policy job.
Now there is mention in the media that she may be also considered for commerce secretary given her strong track record in getting foreign investment into her state.
Haley is the daughter of Sikh immigrants from Amritsar district and her full name is Nimrata Nikki Randhwa Haley. She is married to Michael Haley. (IANS)