Nikki R. Haley, President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, has announced that she will resign at the end of the year. This is a high-profile departure from one of the few women that serves on the president’s cabinet.
Ms. Haley is the former governor of South Carolina and was an early and frequent critic of Mr. Trump. But through naming her as the U.N ambassador, an olive branch was given.
“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.”
Being the United Nations ambassador, she said, “has been an honor of a lifetime.”
President Trump said that Haley had informed him about six months ago that she needed to step down after 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.”
Haley has been seen as a potential presidential candidate. She said she had no intention of running for the presidency in 2020, as has been speculated. Instead, she plans to campaign for Mr. Trump’s re-election.
“I think you have to be selfless enough to know when you step aside and allow someone else to do the job,” Ms. Haley said.
The U.N ambassador is the daughter of immigrants from India. Ms. Haley favored free markets and global trade and earned international attention for speaking out against the Confederate battle flag in the aftermath of the 2015 massacre at a black church in Charleston.
Ms. Haley acknowledged her policy disagreements with the president in an op-ed in the Washington Post last month. But she also criticized an anonymous senior administration official who wrote an op-ed describing a chaotic administration in which many of the president’s aides disagreed with their boss.
“I don’t agree with the president on everything,” Ms. Haley wrote. “When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person.”
Time magazine celebrated Ms. Haley’s ascendance by putting her on a cover as one of the women who are “changing the world.”