UN Ambassador Haley Resigns

VOA News/Steve Herman

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is resigning.

«It has been an honor of a lifetime,» said Haley, sitting alongside President Donald Trump in the Oval Office where they announced her pending departure on Tuesday. «I’m not leaving until the end of the year.»

«We will miss you,» Trump said to Haley. «You have done a fantastic job.»

Thanking Haley for her service, Trump characterized the diplomat as «very special to me» and someone whom he had teamed with and «solved a lot of problems,» citing, in particular, issues with Iran and North Korea.

«Hopefully you’ll be coming back at some point,» added the president, saying «you can have your pick» of other jobs in his administration.

«I don’t have anything set on where I’m going to go,» said Haley.

The former governor of the state of South Carolina has been a relatively moderate voice in Trump’s cabinet.

Her appointment as ambassador to the U.N. was seen as something as a surprise as she had been viewed as a critic of Trump’s confrontational style during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as a proponent of free markets and global trade, in contrast to the president’s «America First» policies.

«Countries may not like what we do but they respect what we do,» Haley said on Tuesday, summarizing her tenure as Trump’s envoy to the world body.

Asked who he has in mind as Haley’s successor, Trump responded: «We have a number of people that would very much would like to do it,» adding that Haley had «made it a very glamorous position.»

The president added that «within the next two or three weeks, maybe sooner» he is likely to announce who he intends to nominate for the post.

Haley responded recently to an anonymous opinion article in the New York Times by an unnamed senior official who claimed to be part of a «resistance» inside the Trump administration to thwart parts of the president’s agenda «and his «worst inclinations.»

Haley, writing in The Washington Post, said that she proudly served in Trump’s administration and «I enthusiastically support most of its decisions and the direction it is taking the country.»

As ambassador to the world body, Haley had clashed with her first immediate boss in the Trump administration, Rex Tillerson, who was fired by the president in March and replaced as secretary of state this year to make way for the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo.

«Nikki Haley has been a clear, consistent, and powerful voice for America’s interests and democratic principles on the world stage,» said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, quickly reacting to news of the ambassador’s impending departure. «She challenged friend and foe to be better. I am saddened that she is leaving the administration, but so grateful for her service.»

As governor of South Carolina, Haley came to national prominence for taking down the flag of the Confederacy, a symbol of the losing Southern side during America’s mid-19th century civil war, which had flown at the Statehouse.

Haley, whose parents emigrated from India, is one of six women in Trump’s cabinet and is regarded as a potential future Republican Party presidential contender.

«No, I’m not running for 2020,» Haley told reporters, adding she would be campaigning for Trump’s re-election in the next presidential election.