Nikki Haley, born Nimrata Randhawa in 1972, is an American politician who served as the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump administration and as governor of South Carolina.
Originally from South Carolina, she is the daughter of Sikh Indian immigrants. Haley converted to Christianity as an adult.
Haley published an autobiography in 2012, and received an honorary doctorate in public service from the University of South Carolina.
She is married to Michael Haley. The couple has two children.
Early life and political career
After studying accounting at Clemson University, Haley started working for her family’s business, Exotica International. She became president of the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2004.
In 2004 Haley successfully campaigned as a Republican for a seat in the House of Representatives. She remained in office after being unopposed in the 2006 elections, and was re-elected in 2008.
She voted as a conservative, supporting tax cuts, immigration enforcement and the pro-life movement.
In 2010 Haley successfully ran for governor of South Carolina with the support of members of the Tea Party movement. In addition to being the first woman to hold this position, she was also the first Indian-American to do so. Haley had a successful first term in office, fostering a growing economy and gaining growing approval ratings. She won re-election in 2014.
A long-time supporter of Israel, as governor Haley signed into law a bill meant to stymie efforts by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
In 2012, Haley was considered by Mitt Romney as a vice-presidential candidate, but stated that if selected she would decline.
In 2015, Haley came under national attention when a racially-motivated shooting in a South Carolina church resulted in the deaths of nine African-Americans. Following the shooting, Haley stated in an interview that the shooting should be labeled a hate crime, and signed a bill to have the Confederate flag removed from the South Carolina State Capitol.
In 2016 Haley gave the Republican Party’s response to Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address. In it, she criticized Obama and his administration, but also called upon Republicans to take responsibility for their share of America’s problems and to take measures to be more inclusive of all Americans.
As UN Ambassador
Haley had originally endorsed Ted Cruz for president in 2016 and had been critical of Donald Trump, but eventually voted for the latter over Hillary Clinton in the presidential elections. She was chosen by Trump to serve as the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations under his administration.
In 2017 she resigned as governor in order to begin her new role at the UN.
Although supportive of immigration reform, Haley has stated that she would never support a Muslim ban should President Trump choose to enact one.
When discussing the Middle East at a security council meeting in April 2017 Haley said that Iran and Hezbollah are to blame for conducting terror attacks against the region, and that in order to attain Middle East peace the world first needs to tackle Iran.
In December 2017 she defended Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at the UN, saying that it would “fastball the peace process going forward.”
Nikki Haley: Why the U.N. should condemn Hamas
Before the General Assembly can credibly advocate compromise and reconciliation between the Palestinians and Israel, it must be on record unambiguously and unconditionally condemning Hamas terrorism.
UNGA fails to condemn Hamas terrorism against Israel
Haley: There is nothing more antisemitic than saying terrorism is not terrorism when used against Jews or Jewish state.
U.N. Security Council to meet on Hezbollah tunnels
IDF, Lebanese Army and UNIFIL officials meet for regular-scheduled meeting; Russia expresses some support for Israel’s anti-tunnel operation.
Haley blasts U.N. for equating Israel with Hamas in call for restraint
“Fact: There is only one side that attacks indiscriminately [Hamas]. One side that targets civilians. One side that terrorizes to achieve its objectives,” Haley said.
U.S. envoy Haley: Palestine is not any state at all
“The Palestinians are not a UN Member State or any state at all. The United States will continually point that out in our remarks at UN events led by the Palestinians,” Haley said.
Haley: ‘Deal of the Century’ fate is in Abbas’s hands
“The Palestinian people should be frustrated with Abbas and the fact that he is not stepping up, he is not dealing with Hamas, he is not doing things to better the Palestinian people,” Haley said.
U.S. won't change 'inappropriate' UNRWA Palestinian refugee definition
The administration "is not planning to provide a numerical calculation or definition of a 'legitimate Palestinian refugee,'” a State Department official said.
Nikki Haley calls for examination on Palestinian right of return
The UN ambassador said the region must push the Palestinians to the negotiating table.
Senior U.S. officials place full blame on Hamas for Gaza escalation
With fire kites and rocket firings, Hamas is "pushing Israel to engage in increasingly significant acts of self-defense," the group added.
In a first, Haley proposes U.N. General Assembly vote to condemn Hamas
The proposed vote on Hamas' responsibility over Gaza in the 193-member UN chamber amounts to a referendum on the militant group.