Haley's 'honour of a lifetime'?
That Trump's Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, would resign was well-known to the US President months in advance. Trump praised her as a "fantastic person" who had "done an incredible job" and said he would gladly welcome her back into his administration down the line. "She told me probably six months ago that she wanted a break." Officials inside the White House, who had little indication that Haley was resigning on Tuesday, are questioning her timing.
While Trump said she told him six months ago she wanted time off, there are questions among senior administration aides about why Haley chose this moment, four weeks before midterms, and right after a bruising political battle involving gender, to take leave. The President also said Haley could have her "pick" of administration posts if she ever decides she wants to rejoin his administration. Yet, in the wake of her resignation, two sources familiar with Haley's relationship with Trump said that she had lost clout with the President in recent months.
When Rex Tillerson was still Secretary of State, Trump sought out Haley's advice often and she was regularly seen in the Oval Office. But with Pompeo in that role and with Bolton serving as national security adviser, Haley had seen her time with the President diminish. The President said he plans to name a successor for the US's top diplomatic post at the United Nations in two to three weeks. Among the names floated as possible replacements for Haley are Trump's former deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, and senior adviser and daughter of the President Ivanka Trump. Trump later said that he has five people on his shortlist to replace Haley. A source who talked to the President in the last week about replacing Haley said that the Trump mentioned he likes Dina a lot. While speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House Tuesday, Trump said he is considering "numerous people" including Powell, whom he said, "is under consideration." Ivanka Trump laughed Tuesday morning when she heard about the speculation that she would replace Haley. However, Trump later said that his daughter would be "incredible" as US Ambassador to the United Nations, but said he would be "accused of nepotism" if he appointed her to succeed Haley.
Haley called serving as UN ambassador "an honour of a lifetime," but added that it was time for her to depart the administration. "I want to make sure this administration, this president, has the strongest person to fight," she said. But a source familiar with the issue said that financial considerations did come into play for Haley, something she alluded to in her resignation letter dated October 3. Sitting alongside Trump in the Oval Office Tuesday, Haley went on to praise the current administration's foreign policy, saying "the US is respected." "Countries may not like what we do, but they respect what we do," she said. In her resignation letter, Haley noted that she has served in public office for 14 straight years and expressed a desire to return to the private sector. The former South Carolina governor was tapped as ambassador to the UN following Trump's election win despite supporting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in her state's all-important 2016 presidential primary and later backing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. When asked if she would take the job by then-chief of staff Reince Priebus, Haley was intrigued but had some conditions.
First, she told Trump she wanted to be a member of the Cabinet and the National Security Council, privileges enjoyed by her predecessors in the Obama administration. Perhaps most importantly, she wanted the latitude to be herself, to say what she wanted. "I said 'I am a policy girl, I want to be part of the decision-making process,'" she said in a 2017 interview, recalling the conversation with Trump."He said, 'done.' And I said, 'I don't want to be a wallflower or a talking head. I want to be able to speak my mind.' He said 'That is why I asked you to do this.'In all honesty, I didn't think they were going to take me up on everything I asked for. And they gave me all that. So how do you turn that down?"