Two weeks ago, U.S. president Donald Trump delivered his speech at the United Nations General Assembly. His ambassador Nikki Haley looked on in the hall as the world’s leaders laughed at her president. He later said the world was laughing with him not at him, and she defended that line on television — but she won’t have to do that anymore.
CGTN’s Nathan King reports.
In a flurry of early morning activity at the West Wing of the White House, Ambassador Haley arrived. Shortly after, it was announced she would be leaving her prestigious post to join the private sector at the end of the year.
Speculation began immediately as to why she is leaving: is it because she didn’t get Secretary of State position after Rex Tillerson resigned? It was the position she was known to want.
Rumors of clashes with John Bolton, over the national security adviser’s control over foreign policy, have circled for months. However, in the Oval Office, Haley gushed to President Trump seated beside her.
“Well, I want to say first of all I want to thank the president for just you know allowing us to come out and talk to you this way. It has been an honor of a lifetime,” Haley said.
President Trump was equally effusive.
“I wanted to do this because Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the United Nations, has been very special to me,” President Trump said. “She’s done an incredible job. She’s a fantastic person, very importantly, but she also is somebody that gets it. She has been at the United Nations from the beginning with us from the beginning and worked with us on the campaign.”
The ‘America First’ policy was never popular at the United Nations, but Haley did score some successes. Sanctions resolutions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, forged with China and Russia, was a rare moment of consensus in the Security Council.
Haley echoed Trump and others on Iran, fully backing Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal and pushing for a tougher line against Tehran at all levels of the U.N.
She did differ from the President when it came to Russia—sometimes getting ahead of him when it came to strong words against Moscow.
But why leave now?
A rising star in the Republican Party, there has been speculation she may challenge Trump for their party’s presidential nomination in 2020. While sitting next to Trump, she ruled that out.
“No, I’m not running for 2020. I can promise you what I’ll be doing is campaigning for this one,” Haley said. “So I look forward to supporting the president in the next election.”
Perhaps she is just leaving before her star wanes, as it has with most Trump officials. The U.N. is also becoming a lot less relevant the past two years into the Trump presidency.
Haley’s resignation comes as the U.S. pulls out of (or away) from U.N. institutions, like the Human Rights Council, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. Washington has also stopped funding some U.N. agencies, further eroding international support.
Whatever she does after the U.N., its probably safe to say we haven’t heard the last of Nikki Haley in U.S. politics, whether it’s a run for president, the U.S. Senate, or something else.
Washington speculation is already rife on who will replace her. There are many candidates to the foreign policy establishment, some that produce the same sort of guffaws we heard in the U.N. General Assembly Hall two weeks ago. The president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, was mentioned within minutes of the resignation announcement.
It is an honor to serve in the White House alongside so many great colleagues and I know that the President will nominate a formidable replacement for Ambassador Haley. That replacement will not be me.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) October 9, 2018
She tweeted a few hours later that she was “honored” but would decline.
Jonathan Wachtel discusses the resignation of US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley
The resignation of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley signals another sudden departure in the Trump administration. CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke to Haley’s former communications director at the U.N., Jonathan Wachtel for his insight into the resignation.