|29th United States Ambassador to the United Nations|
January 25, 2017 - December 31, 2018
|Deputy||Michele J. Sison|
Kelley Eckels Currie (acting)
|116th Governor of South Carolina|
January 12, 2011 - January 24, 2017
Glenn F. McConnell
|Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives|
from the 87th district
January 11, 2005 - January 11, 2011
Nimrata Nikki Randhawa
January 20, 1972
|Education||Clemson University (BS)|
Nimrata Nikki Haley (née Randhawa; born January 20, 1972) is an American politician, diplomat, clothing executive and author who served as the 116th governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 and as the 29th United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018.
Haley was the first female governor of South Carolina, the youngest governor in the country and the second governor of Indian descent (after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana). She was the first Asian-American female governor, and in 2017 became the first Indian-American in a presidential cabinet.
Haley was born in Bamberg, South Carolina, and studied accountancy at Clemson University. First elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004, she served three terms. In 2010, during her third term, she was elected governor of South Carolina and won re-election in 2014.
On November 23, 2016, then President-elect Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate then South Carolina Governor Haley as United States ambassador to the United Nations. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a 96-to-4 vote, and was sworn in on January 25, 2017. She affirmed the United States' willingness to use military force in response to further North Korean missile tests in the wake of the 2017 North Korea crisis, and supported Israel thirteen times. She voluntarily stepped down on December 31, 2018.
Haley was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to an Indian Punjabi American Sikh family at Bamberg County Hospital in Bamberg, South Carolina. Her father, Ajit Singh Randhawa, and her mother, Raj Kaur Randhawa, immigrated to the United States from Amritsar District, Punjab, India. Her father was formerly a professor at Punjab Agricultural University, and her mother received her law degree from the University of Delhi.
Haley's parents moved to Canada after her father received a scholarship offer from the University of British Columbia. When her father received his PhD degree in 1969, he moved his family to South Carolina, after accepting a position as a professor at Voorhees College, a historically black institution.
Her mother, Raj Randhawa, earned a master's degree in education and taught for seven years in the Bamberg public schools. In 1976 she started a popular clothing boutique, Exotica International. It closed in 2008.
Haley has one sister and two brothers. Her sister, Simran, born in Canada, became a radio host and Fashion Institute of Technology alumna. Her brother Mitti retired as a member of the United States Army Chemical Corps having served in Desert Storm; her second brother, Charan, is a web designer.
At the age of 12, Haley began helping with the bookkeeping in her mother's ladies' clothing shop, Exotica International. In 1989, she graduated from the private Orangeburg Preparatory Schools.
After graduating from Clemson University, Haley worked for FCR Corporation, a waste management and recycling company, before joining her family's clothing business as its bookkeeper and chief financial officer.
She married Michael Haley in 1996. She later became busy in civic affairs. In 1998, she was named to the board of directors of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce. She was named to the board of directors of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce in 2003. Haley became treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2003, and president in 2004.
Haley chaired the Lexington Gala to raise funds for a local hospital. She also served on the Lexington Medical Foundation, Lexington County Sheriff's Foundation, and West Metro Republican Women. She was the president of the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was chair for the 2006 Friends of Scouting Leadership Division campaign.
In 2004, Haley ran for the South Carolina House of Representatives to represent District 87 in Lexington County. She challenged incumbent state representative Larry Koon in the Republican primary. He was the longest-serving legislator in the South Carolina Statehouse. Her platform included property tax relief and education reform. In the primary election, she forced a runoff as Koon did not win a majority, but 42% of the vote. She placed second with 40% of the vote. In the runoff, she defeated him 55-45%.
She ran unopposed in the general election. Haley is the first Indian-American to hold office in South Carolina. She was unopposed for re-election to a second term in 2006. In 2008, she won re-election to a third term, defeating Democrat Edgar Gomez 83-17%.
One of Haley's stated goals was to lower taxes. When Mark Sanford was governor of South Carolina, Haley voted against a proposed cigarette surtax despite criticism that the revenue from the tax would have been used for smoking prevention programs and cancer research related to smoking. She voted for a bill that raised sales taxes from five cents per dollar to six cents per dollar. The bill exempted sales tax on unprepared food such as canned goods. The same bill also exempts property tax on "owner-occupied residential property" except for the taxes due from what is still owed on the property.
Haley implemented a plan in which teachers' salaries would be based on not only seniority and qualifications but also job performance, as determined by evaluations and reports from principals, students, and parents. She supports school choice and charter schools.
Haley supports barring legislators from collecting legislative pensions while in office. She believes such pensions should be based on only the $10,400 legislative salary instead of the salary plus lawmakers' $12,000 annual expense allowance.
Haley has stated that, as a daughter of immigrants, she believes the immigration laws should be enforced. She voted in favor of a law that requires employers to be able to prove that newly hired employees are legal residents of the United States, and also requires all immigrants to carry documentation at all times proving that they are legally in the United States. Haley signed an "Arizona-style" law cracking down on illegal immigration in June 2011. The law is the subject of a lawsuit initiated by the United States Justice Department on numerous grounds, including claims the immigration law violates the Supremacy Clause. Rob Godfrey, a spokesman for Haley, said, "If the feds were doing their job, we wouldn't have had to address illegal immigration reform at the state level. But, until they do, we're going to keep fighting in South Carolina to be able to enforce our laws."
Haley describes herself as pro-life and has supported legislation to restrict abortion. She has stated "I'm not pro-life because the Republican Party tells me, I'm pro-life because all of us have had experiences of what it means to have one of these special little ones in our life."
Haley has consistently supported bills that give rights to a fetus and restrict abortion, except when the mother's life is at risk. In 2006, as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, Haley voted for the Penalties for Harming an Unborn Child/Fetus law, which asserted that an act of violence against a fetus is akin to a criminal act against the mother. She also voted for two separate bills that required a woman to first look at an ultrasound and then wait 24 hours before being permitted to have an abortion. In 2016, she re-signed a new state law that bans abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Haley has voted in favor of some bills relating to abortion that were tabled or rejected, including the Inclusion of Unborn Child/Fetus in Definition for Civil Suits Amendment, Prohibiting Employment Termination Due to Abortion Waiting Period amendment, and Exempting Cases of Rape from Abortion Waiting Period amendment. The latter would have allowed specific cases of women to not have to wait the mandatory 24 hours before having an abortion.
On May 14, 2009, Haley announced that she would run for the Republican nomination for governor of South Carolina in the 2010 elections. Haley had been persuaded to run by incumbent governor and fellow Republican Mark Sanford. On November 11, 2009, she was endorsed by former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as well as Jenny Sanford, the incumbent first lady of South Carolina. Haley has old ties to the Chicago businessman and the Republican Hindu Coalition founder Shalabh "Shalli" Kumar. Kumar reminisced in a 2016 interview, "Her father Ajit Singh Randhawa approached me in the summer of 2010 to support his daughter's campaign to run for governor of South Carolina." He became her largest donor. She was polling in last place in the GOP race before a surprise endorsement from former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, three weeks before the primary vote.
Haley was elected governor on November 2, 2010, defeating the Democratic candidate, Vincent Sheheen 51% to 47%. She is considered the third non-white person to have been elected as governor of a Southern state, after Virginia's Douglas Wilder and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal.
On August 12, 2013, Haley announced she would seek a second term as governor. She faced a challenge in the Republican primary from Tom Ervin. However, Ervin withdrew and later contested the 2014 gubernatorial election as an independent.
As in 2010, Vincent Sheheen of the Democratic Party ran against Haley. Republican-turned-Independent Tom Ervin was also running in early stages of the contest, as were Libertarian Steve French and United Citizens Party candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves. The first public debate was held in Charleston on October 14 between French, Ervin, Haley, Reeves, and Sheheen. The second public debate in Greenville on October 21 again included all five candidates. A week after the second debate, Ervin withdrew from the race and endorsed Sheheen.
Haley was re-elected on November 4, 2014, with a 55.9 percent to 41.3 percent win, almost tripling her previous margin of victory over Sheheen in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
Haley began serving as governor of South Carolina in January 2011. Her second term as governor was set to expire on January 9, 2019; however, Haley resigned her position on January 24, 2017 to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Four lieutenant governors served under Haley. Haley, a Republican, welcomed Yancey McGill, a Democrat, to serve as her lieutenant governor after Glenn F. McConnell's resignation. Haley was initially against having a Democrat serve as the second-in-command to the governor, but she, along with the Senate, eventually agreed otherwise.
In July 2013, Haley was fined $3,500 by the State Ethics Commission and given a "public warning" for failing to report the addresses of eight donors during her 2010 campaign for governor.
"We have announced 85,613 jobs. We have celebrated 672 projects--more than half of which were expansions...We have seen $21.5 billion in capital investment. Our unemployment rate is now 4.4 percent. Every single one of our 46 counties has seen new jobs. Every one."
In inviting business to move to South Carolina, she has said:
What I'm saying is, if you come to South Carolina, the cost of doing business is going to be low here. We are going to make sure that you have a loyal, willing workforce and we are going to be one of the lowest union-participation states in the country.
Before June 2015, Haley supported flying the Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds. In the immediate aftermath of the Charleston church shooting, Haley did not take a position on removing the flag, saying, "I think the state will start talking about that again, and we'll see where it goes." On June 22, Haley called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds. She stated:
"These grounds [the State Capital] are a place that everybody should feel a part of. What I realized now more than ever is people were driving by and felt hurt and pain. No one should feel pain." Haley also said, "There is a place for that flag," but she added, "It's not in a place that represents all people in South Carolina."
In July 2015, Haley signed a bill to authorize removing the Confederate flag from the flagpole on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol. In December 2019, she defended the people of South Carolina, saying that "some people" in South Carolina saw the flag as a representation of "service and sacrifice and heritage" before the flag was hijacked by the white supremacist mass killer Dylann Roof.
In April 2016, Haley indicated she would not support legislation introduced by the South Carolina State Senate which would require transgender individuals to use restrooms based on their gender assigned at birth. Haley stated:
These are not instances that... y'all haven't reported on anything. I haven't heard anything that's come to my office. So when I look at South Carolina, we look at our situations, we're not hearing of anybody's religious liberties that are being violated, and we're, again, not hearing any citizens that feel like they are being violated in terms of freedoms.
Haley has been described by South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham as a "strong supporter of the State of Israel". As governor of South Carolina, she signed into law a bill to stop efforts of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This legislation was the first of its kind on a statewide level. Haley also stated that "nowhere has the UN's failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel".
In 2016, Haley received extensive press coverage for saying the phrase "bless your heart" in response to an attack by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump had attacked her on Twitter for her call for him to release his tax records.
""I will not stop until we fight a man that chooses not to disavow the KKK. That is not a part of our party. That's not who we want as president. We will not allow that in our country!"
During her 2011-2017 gubernatorial term, Haley vetoed 50 bills, 24 (48%) of which were overridden by the state legislature.
Legislative Veto Action
|Total||% of Total|
Partial/Certain Items Sustained
On November 23, 2016, then President-elect Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Haley for ambassador to the United Nations. On January 20, 2017, President Trump sent Haley's nomination to the United States Senate. It has been reported that President Trump considered Haley for the position of secretary of state, which she declined.
On January 24, 2017, by a vote of 96-4, Haley was confirmed by the Senate to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The four senators that voted against Haley were senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.) Haley is the first Indian American to hold a cabinet level position. Shortly thereafter, she resigned as South Carolina governor, and Lt. Governor Henry McMaster ascended into the governorship of South Carolina.
Haley was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on January 25, 2017. She met with United Nations secretary-general António Guterres on January 27, 2017, at the UN Headquarters in New York City.
On February 2, 2017, Haley declared to the U.N. Security Council that sanctions against Russia for its Crimean conflict would not be lifted until Russia returned control over the region to Ukraine. On June 4, 2017, Haley reported the United States would retain "sanctions strong and tough when it comes to the issue in Ukraine".
On March 15, 2017, Haley said she would not support a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States should President Trump choose to enact one. Haley said she did not believe "we should ever ban anyone based on their religion" and that a Muslim ban would be "un-American".
On March 30, 2017, Haley stated that the U.S. would no longer focus on forcing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to leave power. This was a policy shift from former president Barack Obama's initial stance on Assad. On April 5, speaking to the U.N. Security Council a day after the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, Haley said Russia, Assad, and Iran "have no interest in peace" and attacks similar to this would continue occurring should nothing be done in response. A day later, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles toward the Shayrat Air Base in Syria. Haley called the strike a "very measured step" and warned that the U.S. was prepared "to do more" despite wishing it would not be required. On April 12, after Russia blocked a draft resolution meant to condemn the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, Haley criticized Russia, saying "We need to see Russia choose to side with the civilized world over an Assad government that brutally terrorizes its own people." June 28, while appearing before the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Haley credited President Trump's warning to Syria with stopping another chemical attack: "I can tell you due to the president's actions, we did not see an incident."
In April 2017, while holding her first session as president of the UN Security Council, Haley charged Iran and Hezbollah with having "conducted terrorist acts" for decades within the Middle East.
Haley said the U.S. military could be deployed in response to any further North Korean missile tests or usage of nuclear missiles and that she believed Kim Jong-un understood this due to pressure by both the U.S. and China. On May 14, 2017, after North Korea performed a ballistic missile test, Haley said Kim was "in a state of paranoia" after feeling pressure from the U.S. On June 2, 2017, after the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution adding fifteen North Koreans and four entities linked to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs to a sanctions blacklist, Haley said the council's vote was "sending a clear message to North Korea today: Stop firing ballistic missiles or face the consequences". On July 5, 2017, during a U.N. Security Council meeting, in response to North Korea launching an intercontinental ballistic missile, Haley announced the US would within days "bring before the Security Council a resolution that raises the international response in a way that is proportionate to North Korea's new escalation". The following month the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved sanctions on North Korea banning exports worth over $1 billion. Haley said that the sanctions package was "the single largest ... ever leveled against the North Korean regime".
Also in April 2017, Haley spoke out against Ramzan Kadyrov and the abuse and murder of gay men in Chechnya. She stated that "We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation ... this violation of human rights cannot be ignored".
In May 2017 interview, Haley expressed interest in moving the U.S. embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On June 7, Haley charged the U.N. with having "bullied Israel for a very long time" and pledged the US would end this treatment while in Jerusalem. Israel occupied the Jordan-controlled East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967 and formally annexed it in 1980. The Jerusalem Law declared Jerusalem to be Israel's "undivided capital".
In July 2017, after the UNESCO voted to designate the Hebron's Old City and the Cave of the Patriarchs as Palestinian territory as well as endangered world heritage sites, Haley called the choice "tragic on several levels" in a statement (see Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Hebron).
In September 2017, Haley stated that "some countries" (a reference to Russia, although Haley did not refer to Russia by name) were shielding Iran by blocking the International Atomic Energy Agency from verifying Iranian compliance with the international nuclear agreement with Iran. Haley said that it "appears that some countries are attempting to shield Iran from even more inspections. Without inspections, the Iran deal is an empty promise."
In September 2017, Haley said that her government was "deeply troubled" by reports of atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Haley criticized Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi for "justifying the imprisonment of the two Reuters reporters who reported on the ethnic cleansing."
In October 2017, the federal Office of Special Counsel determined that Haley had violated the federal Hatch Act in June 2017 by re-tweeting Trump's endorsement of Ralph Norman, a Republican candidate for Congress in South Carolina. Haley deleted the re-tweet after a complaint was filed by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The Office of Special Counsel issued a reprimand by letter but did not recommend any further action be taken against Haley. The special counsel's letter warned Haley that any future violation could be considered "a willful and knowing violation of the law".
In October 2017, the U.S., along with 13 other nations, voted against a U.N. resolution titled "The Question of the Death Penalty", which condemned the use of capital punishment when "applied arbitrarily or in a discriminatory manner" and specifically condemned "the imposition of the death penalty as a sanction for specific forms of conduct, such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations." LGBTQ rights advocates in the U.S., including the Human Rights Campaign, were critical of the vote. After the vote, a State Department spokeswoman announced that "We voted against that resolution because of broader concerns with the resolution's approach in condemning the death penalty in all circumstances ... The United States unequivocally condemns the application of the death penalty for conduct such as homosexuality, blasphemy, adultery, and apostasy. We do not consider such conduct appropriate for criminalization."
Egypt sponsored a Security Council resolution voiding any unilateral decisions on Jerusalem's status. The resolution further demanded that countries "refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the holy city." In December 2017, Haley warned UN members that she would be "taking names" of countries that voted to reject President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. In a letter, Haley wrote: "As you consider your vote, I encourage you to know the president and the US take this vote personally. The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those who voted against us." The resolution still passed by an overwhelming margin: 128 in favour, 35 abstaining and only nine against. Haley even travelled to some countries that voted "No," such as Guatemala and Honduras, and thanked them for their support in the emergency special session.
Also in December 2017, Haley accused Iran of backing the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Houthis are fighting the Saudi-backed Hadi government. She said that the "fight against Iranian aggression is the world's fight." Iranian U.N. mission spokesman Alireza Miryusefi said in response that "These accusations seek also to cover up for the Saudi war crimes in Yemen, with the US complicity, and divert attention from the stalemate war of aggression against the Yemenis." Iran likened Haley's presentation to that of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Haley also said that "It's hard to find a conflict or terrorist group in the Middle East that doesn't have Iran's fingerprints all over it", but she did not mention the U.S. role in Saudi-led intervention in Yemen and Saudi-led coalition's blockade of Yemen.
In December 2017, Haley said that the women who had accused President Trump of touching or groping them without their consent "should be heard."
On October 9, 2018, she tendered her resignation as the U.N. ambassador, which President Donald Trump accepted. Haley's resignation emerged a day after an anti-corruption watchdog accused her of accepting seven luxury private plane trips as gifts from South Carolina business leaders. The watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), was the first to break this story after requesting an Inspector General investigation. Haley listed these seven flights as gifts on a 2018 financial disclosure, claiming that they are exempt from ethics violations as they were gifted by personal contacts. A spokesperson for CREW said they have no reason to believe that this was related to her resignation as ambassador.
In October 2018, Haley raised the issue of China's re-education camps and human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority. She said that "At least a million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have been imprisoned in so-called 're-education camps' in western China," and detainees are "tortured ... forced to renounce their religion and to pledge allegiance to the Communist Party."
In 2019 Nikki Haley created a new policy group called Stand for America is an advocacy group that promotes public policies that strengthen the economy, culture and national security of the United States.
On February 26, 2019, it was announced that Haley had been nominated to the board of directors of Boeing. She was elected at the annual shareholder meeting on April 29. Critics have alleged that the position at Boeing may have been offered to Haley due to favorable official actions she took with regard to Boeing while in office in South Carolina. Boeing board members earn "a minimum annual compensation of $315,000 as of 2017, the most recent figures available in a regulatory filing." On March 19, 2020 Haley stepped down from the Board of Directors stating her disagreement with the board over a Government bailout during the global coronavirus crisis.
In 2012, former governor Mitt Romney considered her for his vice-presidential running mate. In April 2012, Haley said that she would turn down any potential vice presidential offer: "I'd say thank you, but no, I made a promise to the people of this state. And I think that promise matters. And I intend to keep it."
Haley was mentioned in January 2016 as a potential candidate for the vice presidency in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.The Economist described Haley as a politician with high approval ratings who possesses a combination of "fiscal ferocity and a capacity for conciliation," and stated as a female candidate and ethnic minority she would have appeal. On May 4, 2016, after Trump became the presumptive presidential nominee, Haley denied interest in the vice presidential nomination.
In September 1996, Nikki Randhawa married Michael Haley; they celebrated with both Sikh and Methodist ceremonies. The couple have two children, daughter Rena (born June 8, 1998) and son Nalin (born September 6, 2001).
Haley converted to Christianity in 1997. She and her husband regularly attend the United Methodist Church. She also attends Sikh services once or twice a year. She visited the Harmandir Sahib with her husband in 2014 during her visit to India. During a Christianity Today interview, when asked whether or not she hopes her parents convert to Christianity, Haley responded, "What I hope is that my parents do what's right for them."
|Republican||Larry Koon (incumbent)||2,354||42.3%|
|Republican||Larry Koon (incumbent)||2,426||45.3%|
|Republican||Nikki Haley (incumbent)||11,387||99.5%|
|Republican||Nikki Haley (incumbent)||17,043||83.1%|
|Green||Morgan Bruce Reeves||20,114||1.5%|
|UCP||Morgan Burce Reeves||5,622||0.5%|
|title=(help)Cite error: The named reference "uofsc" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
|South Carolina House of Representatives|
| Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 87th district
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of South Carolina
| Response to the State of the Union address
| Governor of South Carolina
| United States Ambassador to the United Nations