Haley an 'easy pick' for Trump

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) was a “pretty easy pick” for Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative MORE, according to a transition spokesman.

Haley is being nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, despite criticism she leveled at the president-elect during the campaign.


“It was a pretty easy pick, I think, for the president-elect,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. 

“He clearly respects and admires her. … There was also a natural chemistry between the two when they met,” Miller added.

Haley, 44, is a surprising pick given Trump’s penchant for rewarding loyalty. 

She backed Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China MORE (Fla.) in the GOP primaries. And in a January interview with NBC News’s Matt Lauer, she acknowledged that she was referring to Trump when she criticized loud and angry voices in her response to President Obama’s State of the Union address at the beginning of the year.

Trump, she told Lauer, “has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk.”

In a statement Wednesday morning, Trump described Haley as “a proven dealmaker.” He said she “will be a great leader representing us on the world stage.”

On the conference call, the Trump officials were asked whether Haley, as a state governor, brought any diplomatic experience to the U.N. role.

Miller said that as governor of South Carolina, Haley had completed a number of overseas trade and business recruitment missions. 

The Trump officials said the president-elect may announce another Cabinet-level post later on Wednesday. When asked what post it would be, Miller said, “We’ll have to keep you in suspense.”

Trump is spending Thanksgiving with his family at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. The officials didn’t reveal who else he’ll be meeting over this short period. 

Miller said Trump and Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceBill Maher says he's 'glad' David Koch is dead Five things to know about David Koch Former sheriff's deputy files lawsuit claiming he was fired for not wanting to be alone with a woman MORE have already held more than 60 meetings with “highly qualified individuals” to discuss the formation of the incoming administration.

The transition officials were also pressed about provocative comments Trump loyalist Mike Huckabee made earlier on Wednesday morning. 

Speaking on "Fox and Friends," Huckabee warned Trump against picking 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to be his secretary of State, saying it would be an insult to his voters. 

Huckabee said, “There’s only one way that Mitt Romney can be considered for a post like that, and that is if he goes to a mic in a very public place and repudiates everything he said in that famous Salt Lake City speech and everything he said after that — Donald Trump wasn’t fit, that he lacked character.” 

In an off-the-record meeting with network executives and anchors on Monday, Trump reportedly told them that Romney “really wants” to be his secretary of State.

Miller said Trump had not yet decided who will run his State Department.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — a staunch Trump ally — has publicly lobbied for the position. 

Giuliani, however, would face a potentially difficult confirmation process given the extent of his foreign business entanglements.

“He’s looking at a number of very highly qualified potential choices there,” Miller said of Trump’s deliberations on the secretary of State position.

“He’ll be looking for things like chemistry, experience, a similar vision in what the president-elect and vice president-elect are trying to do with this administration.”