Dina Powell, the Goldman Sachs executive and former senior White House official, is the top candidate to replace outgoing United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, two people familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
Powell, who returned to Goldman in a senior role after leaving her job as President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser, is said to be strongly considering the job but also weighing family concerns. Powell already lives in New York, where the U.N. is based, but has young children and left the administration in part to spend more time with family. She is also said to be happy in her job at Goldman.
Born in Egypt and raised in the United States, Powell is well liked by Trump as well as the president’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. But she is already coming under criticism from some conservatives on social media who maintain that Powell is a “globalist” not closely enough aligned with Trump’s “America first” approach to foreign policy.
Trump on Tuesday described Powell as a “person I would consider” when asked about her possible nomination. “She is under consideration. We have, actually, many names,” he said.
Other potential successors to Haley — who announced on Tuesday that she would leave her post at the end of the year — include Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, who previously served as a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N.; and Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada. Some Trump supporters on Twitter pushed on Tuesday for Grenell over Powell.
People familiar with the matter said the White House had been in touch with Powell about the job and that Powell asked for some time to consider it. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Haley posted a picture on Twitter over the weekend of her on a boat with Powell and Powell’s fiancé, David McCormick, the co-CEO of the global investment firm Bridgewater Associates.
If nominated, Powell, who served in the George W. Bush administration, could face some opposition from hardline conservatives. But she is also close to many Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). Any confirmation would happen in the next Congress.
In addition to family concerns, Powell would also face leaving Goldman after just returning to the firm in a senior client role and as a member of the management committee.
Two people familiar with the matter also cited as a possible concern the need for more extensive financial disclosure for Powell and potentially for family members than was required for her previous role in the White House.
While at the Trump White House, Powell served as both an economic adviser and a specialist on the Middle East and other foreign policy initiatives.