Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was sworn in Wednesday by Vice President Mike Pence as the ambassador to the United Nations following an overwhelming confirmation vote by the Senate Tuesday evening.
Haley took her oath the morning after the Senate voted 96-4 to approve her nomination. Just three Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., voted against her.
The former governor, who is the daughter of Indian immigrants, joins three of President Donald Trump’s other nominees who have already been confirmed: retired Gen. John Kelly as the secretary of homeland security, retired Gen. James Mattis as the secretary of defense, and former Kansas Sen. Mike Pompeo as the director of the CIA. Haley is one of two minority women Trump nominated amid a pool of largely white men for Cabinet posts.
Haley has no foreign policy experience but was well prepared for her confirmation hearing last week and impressed members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, particularly with regards to Russia. She was confirmed before former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, who did not succeed in quelling the committee’s concerns over the new administration’s stance on Russia following revelations that country meddled in U.S. elections. Tillerson was approved by the committee along a party-line vote, but his nomination has not yet seen a vote on the Senate floor.
Now that Haley is an ambassador, a succession process is triggered to replace her as South Carolina governor. Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster — who was the first statewide officeholder in the country to support Trump — was sworn in Tuesday evening within an hour of Haley’s confirmation. The now-vacated lieutenant governor role is usually filled by the president pro tempore of the state Senate, but South Carolina state Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, doesn’t want the job. He will resign so another senator can fill the Senate position temporarily and then move into the lieutenant governor’s seat, after which Leatherman is expected to seek to return to his Senate leadership role.
Haley will move to New York to take up her post at U.N. headquarters.