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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, In Homeland Security
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has resigned and will leave her post by the end of the year, CNN reported today.
At a White House meeting Tuesday with the outgoing ambassador, President Trump praised his selection for the post, calling Haley a “fantastic person” who has “done an incredible job.” Trump said he would gladly welcome her back into his administration in the future.
“It was a blessing to go into the U.N. with body armor every day and defend America,” Haley, seated next to Mr. Trump in the Oval Office, told The New York Times and other media representatives. “I’ll never truly step aside from fighting for our country. But I will tell you that I think it’s time.”
The President said Haley told him of her intentions to resign about six months ago because she wanted “a little time off.”
However, “a source familiar with the situation told CNN that Haley notified Trump about her decision last week and did not tell Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or White House national security adviser John Bolton.”
Almost All Administration Officials Caught off Guard by Haley’s Announcement
Unnamed sources told CNN that “almost all senior administration officials found themselves caught off guard by the announcement.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in a statement reported by CNN: ” Ambassador Haley has been a wonderful representative for our country. And she has been just a tremendous asset for those of us here in the Department of Defense.”
The former governor of South Carolina was an early and frequent critic of Trump, The New York Times said. “When he named her to the United Nations job weeks after his election in November 2016, the appointment was seen as an olive branch.”
But as UN ambassador, Haley has been “an outspoken and often forceful envoy — someone whom foreign diplomats looked to for guidance from an administration known for haphazard and inconsistent policy positions,” the Times added.
The newspaper pointed out that Haley is said to have a strained relationship with Bolton, a longtime critic of the United Nations. “But she has been closely allied with Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.” During her Tuesday appearance with the President, she singled them both out for praise.
“Haley’s advisers have long tended to her political image, and stepping away now could be a logical end point if she wants to preserve her own political future. But in the short term, people familiar with her thinking said that she is likely to work in the private sector and make some money,” the Times said.