Trump's U.N. pick to echo his criticism
of world body, offer some praise
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[January 18, 2017]
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Donald Trump's pick
for U.N. ambassador will echo his condemnation of the world body's
treatment of Israel at her Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday,
although offering some praise for an organization the president-elect
Nikki Haley, a rising star in the Republican Party, will face tough
questioning from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about her lack
of experience in foreign policy and the federal government. Haley, who
turns 45 on Friday when Trump takes office, has been governor of South
Carolina since 2011.
In prepared testimony seen by Reuters, Haley seconded harsh criticism by
Trump and many of their fellow Republicans and some Democrats over the
United Nations' treatment of Israel, especially a Security Council
resolution last month demanding an end to settlement building.
"Last month's passage of UN Resolution 2334 was a terrible mistake,
making a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians
harder to achieve," Haley said in her prepared remarks.
The United States declined to veto the resolution, a move Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as "shameful.' After the Dec. 23
vote, Trump took to Twitter to criticize the 193-member world body,
warning that "things will be different" at the United Nations after he
takes office, without offering any details.
Several days later, Trump tweeted: "The United Nations has such great
potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together,
talk and have a good time. So sad!"
Promising to work with Congress to push for reforms at the world body,
Haley said: "The American people see the U.N.'s mistreatment of Israel,
its failure to prevent the North Korean nuclear threat, its waste and
corruption, and they are fed up."
But she praised some U.N. work, including aid programs she said had
helped millions of people, weapons monitoring and some of its
peacekeeping missions, a departure from Trump's criticisms of the
Some lawmakers who have met with Haley also said her comments in private
meetings had differed from some of Trump's positions, such as praising
Russian President Vladimir Putin and questioning the value of the NATO
alliance.Other Trump national security nominees, notably former Exxon
Mobil Chairman Rex Tillerson, his choice for secretary of state, and
defense secretary nominee, retired Marine General James Mattis, have
also veered from Trump's positions during their Senate hearings.
EXPERIENCE AT ISSUE
A number of senators, including some Republicans, have said privately
they hope some of Trump's Cabinet appointees will rein in his more
controversial positions on Russia and other issues.
[to top of second column]
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley speaks at the National Press
Club in Washington, U.S. September 2, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin
"I would far rather have a strong-willed, capable elected leader
with experience at the state level who says those things than
someone who has been a diplomat for 30 years and says: 'Oh, I'll do
whatever Donald Trump says,'" Democratic Senator Chris Coons told
reporters after meeting with Haley on Tuesday.
In her prepared testimony, Haley acknowledged her lack of diplomatic
experience but said she thought her role as governor would stand her
in good stead.
"I would suggest there is nothing more important to a governor's
success than her ability to unite those with different backgrounds,
viewpoints, and objectives behind a common purpose," she said.
Coons and other Democrats said they were still worried about her
lack of experience.
"My concern is that our adversaries in the United Nations are
represented by very seasoned, very capable, very sharp-edged
diplomats," said Coons, a member of the Foreign Relations committee,
Haley did not speak to reporters.
Democrats and Republicans last year praised Haley, the daughter of
immigrants from India, after she led a push to remove the
Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the state capitol after
a white supremacist killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston.
She is expected to have strong support from Republicans, despite her
lack of foreign policy experience, and she already has fans at the
United Nations in New York.
"She's a very respected politician and a highly regarded and
results-driven professional," France's ambassador, Francois
Delattre, told reporters on Tuesday. Delattre met Haley in his
previous role as French ambassador to the United States.
(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations;
Editing by John Walcott and Peter Cooney)
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