Seemingly out of the blue, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced her resignation on Tuesday. The announcement caught lawmakers and the State Department by surprise. Haley will continue to serve through the end of this year.
Haley spoke in the Oval Office with President Trump — who accepted the resignation — beside her. She referred to her time as ambassador as the “honor of a lifetime,” and a “blessing.” Haley gave no hint as to what is next in her life, although she did stress that she would not be running for president in 2020.
“I will say this. For all of you that are going to ask about 2020, no, I’m not running for 2020,” Haley said. “I can tell you what I’ll be doing is campaigning for this one,” the ambassador said, referring to Trump next to her. “So I look forward to supporting the president in the next election.”
Trump had nothing but praise for Haley, saying she did “an incredible job” and is a “fantastic person.” The president also stated that Haley increased the post’s prestige. “I think she’s helped make it [the UN ambassador] a much better position…. She’s made it a more glamorous position, she’s made it, more importantly, a more important position.”
The president also opened a door for a possible return to the administration in the future. “Hopefully you’ll be coming back at some point, maybe in another capacity,” Trump said. “You can have your pick.”
Haley apparently informed Trump of her decision last week, but members of her staff and the State Department didn’t find out until this morning.
Vice-president Mike Pence released a statement that read in part, “Heartfelt thanks to Ambassador Nikki Haley for her extraordinary service as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Nikki Haley served with distinction, faithfully advancing President Trump’s America First agenda and she will be missed.”
A successor has not yet been named, but the president has said, “We have many people that are very, very much interested in doing that.” Trump went on to say he would be meeting with “the general” — a reference to either Defense Secretary Jim Mattis or Chief of Staff John Kelly — and Haley regarding candidates for the position.
For her part, Haley believes that she is leaving the post with the United States in a much better position: “Now the U.S. is respected. Countries may not like what we do, but they respect what we do.”
A vocal critic of the UN’s sloppy management and a fierce defender of the UN’s favorite pin-cushion, Israel, Haley was also crucial to the decision to withdraw from the body’s completely worthless Human Rights Council, which she called a “cesspool of political bias.”
One of the high points of Haley’s time at the UN was last December’s UN vote to condemn the United States for its formal recognition as Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Before the vote to condemn the move, Haley boldly told the body, “The United States will remember this day in which it was sought out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation.”
Haley next threatened the UN’s funding. “We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the UN and we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they often do, to pay even more and use our influence for their benefit.”
Hopefully, President Trump can find a new ambassador as tough as Haley. Or, better yet, take this time to withdraw from the worthless United Nations once and for all.