United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, said on October 9, 2018 that she would resign at the end of the year, marking a high-profile departure of one of the few women in the president’s cabinet.
Ms. Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, had been an early and frequent critic of Mr. Trump; when he named her to the United Nations job weeks after his election in November 2016, the appointment was seen as an olive branch. As ambassador, Ms. Haley has been an outspoken and often forceful envoy — someone whom foreign diplomats looked to for guidance from an administration known for haphazard and inconsistent policy positions.
“It was a blessing to go into the U.N. with body armor every day and defend America,” Ms. Haley, seated next to Mr. Trump in the Oval Office, told reporters. “I’ll never truly step aside from fighting for our country. But I will tell you that I think it’s time.”
“I think you have to be selfless enough to know when you step aside and allow someone else to do the job,” she added.
White House staffers were caught off guard by the announcement, which Ms. Haley and Mr. Trump had kept closely under wraps. But the president said Ms. Haley had informed him roughly six months ago that she wanted to take a break after finishing two years with the administration. He said he hoped Ms. Haley would return in a different role, and would name her successor within the next two or three weeks.
“She’s done a fantastic job and we’ve done a fantastic job together,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re all happy for you in one way, but we hate to lose you.”
Ms. Haley, the first cabinet-level United Nations ambassador for a Republican administration since the end of the Cold War, quickly made clear she saw the position as a steppingstone to a higher political office — a possibility that Mr. Trump may have resented.She became a far more visible face of American foreign policy than her first boss at the State Department, former Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. Mike Pompeo, Mr. Tillerson’s replacement, has recently reasserted the secretary of state’s traditional role.
Time magazine celebrated Ms. Haley’s ascendance by putting her on a cover as one of the women who are “changing the world.”
But Ms. Haley, who has long been seen as a potential presidential candidate, said on Tuesday she had no intention of running for president in 2020, as has been speculated. Instead, she said, she plans to campaign for Mr. Trump’s re-election.
Stepping away now could be a logical end point if Ms. Haley wants to preserve her own political future. But in the short term, people familiar with her thinking said that she is likely to work in the private sector and make some money.
For the moment, few Republican strategists believe that Ms. Haley is inclined to challenge Mr. Trump in 2020. But those who know her believe that she is likely to run, whether in 2024, or even in 2020 — should the president not run again.
”An open presidential race is a better chance to show off her incredible political skills, rather than some quixotic primary effort,” said Matt Moore, who was the Republican Party chair in South Carolina when Ms. Haley was governor there.
The daughter of immigrants from India, Ms. Haley favored free markets and global trade and earned international attention when she was governor for speaking out against the Confederate battle flag in the aftermath of the 2015 massacre at a black church in Charleston. During Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, she sharply criticized his demeanor and warned what it might mean for American diplomacy — even suggesting that his tendency to lash out at critics could cause a world war.
As ambassador, Ms. Haley acknowledged her policy disagreements with the president in an op-ed in the Washington Post last month when she criticized an anonymous senior administration official who penned an opinion piece in The New York Times, describing a chaotic administration in which many of the president’s aides disagreed with their boss.
Possible successors include Dina Powell, a former deputy national security adviser to the president, and Richard A. Grenell. Mr. Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany, served as spokesman for John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, when he was ambassador to the United Nation under former President George W. Bush.