Trump moves towards a more diverse Cabinet with new picks

Retired surgeon Ben Carson has been offered the post of secretary of housing and urban development.
Retired surgeon Ben Carson has been offered the post of secretary of housing and urban development.

WASHINGTON • President-elect Donald Trump moved swiftly to diversify his Cabinet yesterday, announcing the nomination of Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, a rising star in Republican politics, to be United States ambassador to the United Nations, and offering the post of secretary of housing and urban development to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who ran an outsider's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Ms Haley, who is Indian-American, is the first female governor of South Carolina and at, 44, the youngest governor in the country. She clashed with Mr Trump during the campaign, but he spoke effusively of her in his announcement.

She would be the first woman in his Cabinet.

"Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together, regardless of background or party affiliation, to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country," Mr Trump said. "She is also a proven dealmaker, and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage."

Mr Trump's selection of Ms Haley and Dr Carson could blunt criticism that his early picks have come from a homogeneous bloc of older, white men. If confirmed, Ms Haley will step down as governor and be replaced by the state's lieutenant-governor, Mr Henry McMaster.

Dr Carson would be the first African-American member of Mr Trump's Cabinet - and a familiar face to millions of Americans after a Republican primary campaign in which he briefly soared to the top of the polls.

It was not clear whether he had accepted the offer.

Until now, Mr Trump's appointments have consisted of five white men: Mr Stephen Bannon as chief strategist in the White House, Mr Reince Priebus as chief of staff, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as attorney-general, Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

He is rumoured to be close to naming retired general James Mattis as secretary of defence.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2016, with the headline 'Trump moves towards a more diverse Cabinet with new picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe