At times, it's seemed as if Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has disagreed with the Trump administration on so many issues, she's barely part of the president's team. As it turns out, she's now making it official.
In an unexpected development, President Donald Trump's U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, plans to resign, according to multiple people with knowledge of her decision.In an Oval Office announcement alongside the ambassador, Trump told reporters that Haley came to him six months ago and said that she wanted to take a break at the end of the year.Haley informed her staff Tuesday morning that she plans to resign. The news of Haley's resignation was first reported by Axios.
In recent administrations, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has been considered a cabinet-level position, making Haley the fifth member of Donald Trump's cabinet to resign. She follows EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, HHS Secretary Tom Price, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and VA Secretary David Shulkin. (Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly also gave up his post, though he became White House chief of staff.)
It's difficult to say with confidence whether the official story about Haley's departure is true. Ordinarily, when a cabinet-level official steps down, it's not quite this abrupt.
Regardless, the former South Carolina governor's tenure has been, at times, a challenging one. Haley has generally cultivated a reputation as a competent U.N. diplomat, but she has also routinely pursued foreign policies that differ from the White House's agenda.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of Haley's tenure came in April, when the ambassador declared to the world that the administration would announce new sanctions on Russia over its support for the Assad regime in Syria.
As regular readers may recall, what Haley didn’t know was that Trump had rejected that idea, making her declaration wrong. The White House soon after suggested that Haley was “confused,” prompting the ambassador to issue a statement that read, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”
It wasn't an isolated incident. Haley’s stated line was often largely the opposite of what we heard from other leading Trump administration officials, including the president.
When Trump dismissed the need for a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, for example, Haley said the exact opposite a day later. Haley’s line on U.S. policy towards Venezuela also contradicted Trump’s State Department.
And when it comes to Russia’s attack on our 2016 elections, there was no meaningful overlap between Haley’s rhetoric and the president’s rhetoric. It’s as if they were on two entirely different teams.
Making matters worse, Haley has occasionally had to say ridiculous things in public, apparently out of loyalty to the team. Just two weeks ago, for example, after diplomats laughed at one of Trump's more outlandish claims during a speech to the General Assembly, Haley insisted that foreign officials "love to be with" Trump and appreciate his "honesty."
This morning, she added that under the Trump administration, "Now, the United States is respected." The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.
Once Haley officially gives up her post at the end of the year, she won't have to repeat literally unbelievable claims like these.