President Trump Accepts UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's Resignation

Charlene Craig
October 10, 2018

But the president she had told him about her plans some months ago, informing she wanted to "take a break" after two years in the high-profile post.

President Donald Trump appeared to cast his daughter and a former senior White House national security official as the frontrunners to replace Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations.

The decision to announce the latest shake-up came less than a month before the elections, even as the White House has made a concerted effort to hold off on major changes - at the Justice Department and elsewhere - before then.

Soon after the President's remarks, Ivanka Trump took to Twitter to rule herself out of the running for ambassadorship.

Instead of answering directly, he recounted how she has had to work on tough issues, such as Iran and North Korea.

Axios, which first reported the news, reported that Haley discussed her resignation last week when she visited Trump at the White House.

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Trump said Haley first discussed leaving the administration with him six months ago.

While Trump has been reticent about criticising the Kremlin, Haley was a persistent, trenchant critic of Russian policy in Syria and Ukraine, and over the chemical weapon attack against a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom in March.

More recently, there was the awkward moment at the United Nations, when Trump's boasting of American economic strength under his leadership brought laughter at a General Assembly session.

Haley will play a role in picking her successor, the president told reporters as he departed the White House for a campaign rally in Iowa.

Haley criticized Trump during the 2016 election campaign but has been the face of his "America First" policies at the United Nations, steering the US withdrawal from several U.N. programs and ardently defending his hard-line policies against Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs.

Haley stayed coy on her reasons for quitting, saying only that it was "important to understand when it's time to stand aside".

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"I don't get confused", Haley said in a sharply-worded rejoinder to the West Wing.

France's UN Ambassador Francois Delattre, who met Haley when she was governor of SC and he was ambassador to Washington, said "even though we didn't agree on everything, we had established a particularly close and constructive working relationship based on trust". It came in response to an anonymous essay in The New York Times by a senior administration official that alleged there to be a secret "resistance" effort from the right in Trump's administration and that there were internal discussions of invoking the 25th amendment to remove him from office.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2018.

But Haley, the first female governor of SC, has often been an unpredictable and independent force in the Trump administration.

The good personal relations, however, could never mask the sharp differences over a host of issues ranging from United States policy toward Syria to Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate agreement and the UN Human Rights Council.

Bolivia's UN Ambassador Sasha Llorentty Soliz said the Security Council "is like a family - sometimes a dysfunctional family - but nevertheless we care about each other and I really like Nikki very much". "I'm not sure there's anybody more competent", Trump said.

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Trump hedged on nominating Sen. Menendez said he is concerned about the leadership vacuum she leaves and "the national security impact of her departure at this time of continued disarray for this administration".

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