By Prarthana Mitra
Joining the list of high-profile exits from Trump administration, Nikki Haley on Tuesday resigned from her post as the US Ambassador to the United Nations. “It has been an honor of a lifetime,” Haley said of her two-year run as a UN ambassador, during a turbulent time for the country’s foreign relations.
Possible reasons for the departure
Described as a rising star with clout in the Republican party, the former governor of Carolina’s abrupt and unexpected departure raised eyebrows in Washington and the diplomatic community at large, even as she pledged to campaign for Trump’s reelection. “No, I’m not running for 2020,” she assured the press, seated next to the president in the Oval Office.
While most of the party’s pollsters claimed that Haley resigned on her own terms, unlike few other White House ousters like Omarosa, her announcement comes a day after an ethics group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, complained that Haley’s financial disclosure did not provide enough information about her acceptance of free flights on private jets, and requested an investigation into it.
“By accepting gifts of luxury private flights, Ambassador Haley seems to be falling in line with other Trump administration officials who are reaping personal benefits from their public positions,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement on Monday.
What’s ahead for Haley
The 46-year-old, according to political pundits, has developed a political brand which could spell a long career ahead of her, including a GOP vice-presidential candidature. Having already accrued executive experience in her home state, Haley recently added foreign policy to her impressive portfolio with her latest role. For two years, she served as one of Trump’s top diplomats and Washington’s favourite Trump administration leaders.
What her stint at the White House looked like
She knew how to hold herself above but not too apart from the President. She also seldom discussed her career moves with anyone but her key advisors. In April this year, she drew Trump’s ire with her premature announcement that the US would roll out new economic sanctions against Russia, in a television interview. When a White House staff wrote an anonymous op-ed about the internal resistance against Trump last month, Haley responded to speculation claiming it was her, saying, “When I challenge the president, I do it directly. My anonymous colleague should have, too.”
One of the few women holding a senior-level position in the Republican government, Haley was critical of Trump’s deficient diplomacy, repugnant rhetoric, and racial insensitivity right from the campaign in 2015. She publicly disapproved of Trump’s ambivalent response to violent white-supremacist rally at Charlottesville in 2017.
Yet, she became the poster girl for Trump’s foreign policies, exhibiting political acumen and shrewdness in navigating the economic tumult they caused all over the world. Republican pollster Christine Matthews told the press, “She has served very well and has only enhanced her reputation and I think she’s probably the only person in the Trump administration who you can say that about.”
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.