National Security

Nikki Haley Resigns as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Former South Carolina governor told the president months ago of her intentions and leaves as one of the most respected figures in the administration

Image Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations and one of President Donald Trump’s most widely respected and well-liked appointees, resigned from her position Tuesday.

Trump said Haley “has been very special to me, done an incredible job” and is a “fantastic person,” and he revealed that she first informed him six months ago of her plan to resign “maybe at the end of the year.”

Trump said “she has a very bright future and will be a key player wherever she goes.” Haley said she will remain on the job until the end of 2018 and said she has no specific plans for her future.

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was among Trump’s first appointments and was confirmed four days after he took the oath of office. Haley has been a firm and articulate voice at the world body on behalf of Trump’s “America First” approach to foreign policy.

“Look at what has happened in two years with the United States on foreign policy,” Haley said in a statement provided to LifeZette. “Now the United States is respected. Countries might not like what we do, but they respect what we do. Now if we say we’re going to do something, we follow through … whether it’s the chemical weapons in Syria, whether it’s with NATO and other countries have to pay their share, whether it’s the trade deals, which has been amazing. They get that the president means business and we follow through with that.”

“Now the United States is respected. Countries might not like what we do, but they respect what we do. Now if we say we’re going to do something, we follow through.”

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In her resignation letter to Trump, which was first published by the Washington Post, Haley said “We achieved great successes at the UN. We passed the toughest sanctions against any country in a generation, pressuring North Korea toward denuclearization.

“We passed an arms embargo on South Sudan that will help reduce violence and hopefully bring peace to that troubled country. We stood up for our ally Israel and began to roll back the UN’s relentless bias against her.

“We reformed UN operations and saved over $1.3 billion. We spoke out resolutely against dictatorships in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and yes, Russia. Through it all, we stood strong for American values and interests, always placing America first. I am proud of our record.”

Related: Nikki Haley Slams John Kerry on 'Fox & Friends': 'Disrespectful,' 'Hurtful to Country'

Her most visible role, however, is likely to be remembered as pulling the U.S. out of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which she described as a “cesspool of political bias” against the U.S. and Israel.

The council includes multiple countries with horrendous human rights records and regularly issues condemnations of Israel for its policies and actions regarding the future of Palestinians.

Axios first reported the story based on two sources, who were briefed on the meeting. Haley presented her resignation letter to the president, which he accepted. The timing of the departure seems abrupt and shocked some of the administration’s senior foreign-policy officials.

Haley again told the president last week that she planned on resigning, but in a rare turn of events in the nation’s capital, word did not leak of her intentions before she officially submitted her resignation.

“She has a very bright future and will be a key player wherever she goes.”

Speculation about her successor could center on Richard Grinnell, currently the U.S. ambassador to Germany. From 2001 to 2008 under then-President George W. Bush, Grinnell was director of communications and public diplomacy, making him the longest serving U.S. spokesman at the international agency ever.

Another possible successor would be national security adviser John Bolton, who was unable to secure Senate confirmation after Bush nominated him. He filled the position as a recess appointee in 2005 and 2006.

Reaction to Haley’s departure was quick to develop.

“Nikki Haley has set a new standard for what American leadership at the UN should look like,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said in a tweet. “She stood with our allies and held our adversaries accountable, even when it required standing alone on the world stage. We will miss her, but we are all better off thanks to her service.”

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