Indian-American governor Nikki Haley considered for secretary of state: Report

Washington, DC, United StatesUpdated: Nov 17, 2016, 07:02 AM IST

Nikki Haley with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at a meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington in 2015. Photograph:(AFP)

Indian-American politician Nikki Haley will meet US President-elect Donald Trump today, the presidential transition team has said amid reports that the two-term Governor of South Carolina is being considered for a Cabinet position, particularly for the high-profile post of secretary of state.

In a conference call with reporters last night, the transition teams spokesman Sean Spicer listed 44-year-old Haley as one of the candidates Trump would be meeting today.

Among others the 70-year-old Trump would be meeting include former secretary of State Henry Kissinger, General Jack Keane, Admiral Mike Rogers and Ken Blackwell.

While some of these meetings are about potential cabinet members, others are about sharing ideas and advice.

Earlier in the day, a close aide of Trump from South Carolina said that Haley was being considered for a cabinet position, including that of the secretary of state.

"It would be like how Mr Trump is bringing fresh eyes to running our government," South Carolina Lt Governor Henry McMaster told The Post and Courier. The daily did not provide any other details.

McMaster was one of the earliest to endorse Trump during the primaries and has been praised by the president-elect several times in the past.

Haley had endorsed Florida senator Marco Rubio during the primaries and was also critical of Trump in her Republican response to the State of the Union Address by US President Barack Obama in January.

However, before the general elections, Haley came out in support of Trump, saying that she would be voting for the billionaire tycoon from New York.

The Trump transition team has so far not given any indication of who all will be filling various cabinet positions. The president-elect himself has tweeted that only he knows the final list.

McMaster, who started speaking with the Trump team soon after their historic victory told the local South Carolina daily that the first women governor of the State, who is also the first Indian-American woman governor, is being considered for various cabinet position, including the secretary of state.

Neither the office of the South Carolina governor nor the Trump transition team have responded to this report so far.

While the news was welcomed in South Carolina, a political analyst appeared to be skeptical of such a proposal. "Secretary of state is going to be a bit of a stretch for Haley's area of expertise. Haley has yet to be vetted about foreign policy, trade and protectionism," said College of Charleston political scientist Kendra Stewart.

Haley is the second Indian-American name being floated for a cabinet position in the Trump administration. Former Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal is also appearing in many short-lists of potential cabinet names. 

Meanwhile, Trump is considering his trusted military advisor Lt Gen Michael Flynn as his national security advisor, the reports said.

Flynn, 56, was one of the top military leaders to have endorsed Trump and has been his closest military advisor for more than a year now.

"Lieutenant General Michael Flynn has emerged as Donald Trump's leading candidate for national security adviser, according to people familiar with the president- elect's transition planning," National Review reported yesterday.

If selected, he would succeed Susan Rice as the National Security Advisor.

"Like the president-elect, Flynn, a self-described 'maverick' and longtime Democrat, shares a penchant for unvarnished straight talk that has earned him praise from some and condemnation from others," the National Review said.