Early this morning, I learned from a source that US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, had resigned from the Trump administration. She has been excellent in her role, a fierce defender of American interests, and a critic of the UN's corruption and moral failures. As I worked to confirm this scoop, it broke elsewhere, with almost no additional details. If you read this quick report from Axios, if offers no insight into why Haley is stepping aside:
?? Scoop: Trump has accepted Nikki Haley's resignation https://t.co/E9KlCNiJvL— Jim VandeHei (@JimVandeHei) October 9, 2018
I'm told this has been in the works -- or at least under consideration -- for weeks, and that an announcement is coming this morning. The president appears to be confirming that detail:
Big announcement with my friend Ambassador Nikki Haley in the Oval Office at 10:30am.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2018
Despite my best efforts, I've been unable to glean any additional information on the 'why' piece of the development. I've heard that the president was disappointed to learn that she was departing, and that she's exhausted from the job, but that doesn't quite add up as a complete explanation. A few other theories floating around:
(1) She's fundamentally opposed to the foreign policy direction the administration is taking, and is resigning in protest. This strikes me as unlikely.
(2) She's got an ethics problem coming, and she wants to get out in front of it. Maybe, but the flights stuff seems pretty thin.
(3) She's planning to challenge Trump in a 2020 primary, or that she was going to be outed as the "anonymous" op/ed writer. I'd put both in the highly unlikely category. Trump sounds like he's going to give her a strong send-off, after all. (See update).
(4) Sen. Lindsey Graham is about to become Attorney General, and she's ready to step in to fill that Senate vacancy (Graham has denied interest in this).
(5) She's just tired of the position and the related attacks, and wants a break from politics and public service while her children are still a certain age.
I suspect we'll end up learning much more about the reasons behind this shakeup in the coming days, but this comes as a surprise. She could have waited until after the midterm elections, then stepped away in a less dramatic and abrupt manner. She didn't, and the shockwaves are reverberated around Washington this morning. Hmmm...
UPDATE - Effusive words from POTUS. This isn't a bitter parting, and it was a long time coming, apparently:
Trump: Haley “very special”... has done an “incredible job...”— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 9, 2018
He says she mentioned to him six months ago that she wanted to depart admin at the end of the year.
Haley will stay on through the end of 2018, reportedly. She also insisted that she will not challenge President Trump in 2020 -- and will, in fact, campaign for Trump's re-election. Haley says serving in her post has been an honor of a lifetime. More:
Haley: “There are no personal reasons [for the departure]...I’ve given everything I’ve got.” She says government officials need to know when to step aside & suggests (a) she’s drained and (b) she’s *not* permanently exiting the political stage.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 9, 2018
I’m still a bit puzzled on the timing & exact reasons, BUT...it would appear Nikki Haley just managed to depart the Trump administration:— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 9, 2018
- 100% on her own terms
- 100% amicably
- With an *enhanced* reputation.
Quite a feat, actually.