Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, has resigned. She will leave office at the end of 2018, the White House announced on Tuesday.
At a press conference together this morning in the Oval Office about her resignation, Trump praised Haley and said that he hopes she comes back to the administration in a different role. ”You can have your pick,” he told her. He added that Haley had been “very special to me,” and was a “fantastic person.” She had told him “six months ago,” that she wanted to “take a little time off” at the end of the year, Trump said.
“Hopefully you’ll be coming back at some point,” Trump said to Haley, who laughed in response.
Haley told reporters she would be campaigning for Trump in the 2020 election, and would not be running herself. The US is “strong again,” Haley also said, and praised Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
Haley called her role as UN ambassador the “opportunity of a lifetime” and mentioned some US foreign policy changes in recent months, including dissolving the Iran deal and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. “Now the United States is respected,” Haley said. “Countries may not like what we do, but we are respected.”
Global confidence in the US has plummeted since Trump took office.
“It’s very important for government officials to understand when it is time to step aside,” Haley said. “It was a blessing to go into the UN with body armor every day and fight for the country,” she said, and now it is time for someone else to do it.
Haley is resigning one month ahead of the midterm elections, as the Republican party is losing women voters. More than 60% of American women disapprove of Trump’s performance as president, versus 30% who approve.
Haley was once considered a candidate for Secretary of State, after Rex Tillerson lost favor with Trump. But short-term CIA head Mike Pompeo was named instead.
She drew the ire of the White House during the recent UN General Assembly for taking attention away from Trump. The White House, Haley, and the State Department has sometimes seemed to hold differing points of view on international issues.
In April, Haley announced that the Trump administration was planning to impose new sanctions on Russia, although the White House had not yet made such a decision. Haley “got ahead of the curve,” the president’s economics advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters afterward, citing some “momentary confusion.”
“With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” Haley responded in an interview with Fox News. Haley wrote last month that she doesn’t “agree with the president on everything,” in response to an anonymously authored op-ed about a “secret resistance” within the administration. “When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call,” Haley wrote.
Haley was previously the governor of South Carolina. She did not endorse Trump in the 2016 election, and was a frequent critic of him, then.
Her resignation comes as the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, a watchdog group, is asking the State Department to investigate flights Haley took on a South Carolina businessman’s private jet.