Nikki Haley announced Tuesday that she will resign from her post as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year, announcing the decision in the Oval Office while seated next to President Donald Trump, who praised her as a “fantastic person.”
“There’s no personal reason, but I think that it’s just very important for government officials to understand when it’s time to step aside,” Haley said Tuesday, when asked about her reasons for resigning. “I do think that it’s sometimes good to rotate in other people who can put that same energy and power into it.”
“A lot of people are going to want to say there’s a lot of reasons why I’m leaving,” she added. “The truth is I want to make sure that this administration, this president, has the strongest person to fight.”
Trump said Haley told him about six months ago that she wanted to “take a little break” around the two-year mark of her tenure as ambassador. “She’s done an incredible job. She’s a fantastic person, very importantly. But she also is somebody that gets it,” Trump said Tuesday. “We’re all happy for you in one way, but we hate to lose you.”
Trump said he plans to name a successor in the next two or three weeks.
Haley said she doesn’t know what she will do next, but she denied that she has any plans to run for president in 2020, promising to campaign for Trump’s reelection instead.
Haley, a former South Carolina governor, was a sharp critic of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. And she has publicly disagreed with Trump on some occasions during her tenure as U.N. Ambassador. In a column for The Washington Post last month, Haley defended the President in response to the anonymous Trump Administration “resistance” column.
“I, too, am a senior Trump administration official,” Haley said in the Post column. “I proudly serve in this administration, and I enthusiastically support most of its decisions and the direction it is taking the country. But I don’t agree with the President on everything. 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.”
“He does not shut out his advisers, and he does not demand that everyone agree with him,” she wrote. “I can talk to him most any time, and I frequently do. If I disagree with something and believe it is important enough to raise with the president, I do it. And he listens. Sometimes he changes course, sometimes he doesn’t. That’s the way the system should work. And the American people should be comfortable knowing that’s the way the system does work in this administration.”
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