There was no shortage of speculation about why Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, abruptly announced her resignation yesterday, but it was soon accompanied by a related question: who'll replace her.
Donald Trump yesterday seemed especially fond of a specific possible nominee: one of his adult children.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that while he believes his daughter, Ivanka Trump, would make an "incredible" U.S. ambassador to the U.N., he would be accused of "nepotism" if he named her."How good would Ivanka be?" he asked rhetorically before dismissing the idea."I think Ivanka would be incredible but it doesn't mean [I would name her]," Trump said. "I would be accused of nepotism." He added that he thought there was no one "more competent in the world" than Ivanka Trump.
It wasn't long before the president's daughter made clear, in a public statement, that she has no intention of serving in Haley's post. "It is an honor to serve in the White House alongside so many great colleagues and I know that the president will nominate a formidable replacement for Ambassador Haley," Ivanka Trump wrote on Twitter. "That replacement will not be me."
That would seem to close the door on the possibility of her nomination, though it's worth noting that Ivanka Trump also said she wouldn't join her father's White House team, so perhaps her denials about her intentions should be taken with a grain of salt.
But what seemed especially notable about all this was the nature of the president's gushing praise.
To a certain degree, Nikki Haley was herself a curious choice for the U.N. post. The South Carolina Republican was, after all, a governor with no meaningful background in diplomacy or international affairs. (Trump reportedly eyed Haley for secretary of state, but she removed herself from consideration, pointing to her lack of qualifications.)
But yesterday's presidential comments shed new light on Trump's perspective: he thinks Ivanka Trump, who previously created a consumer fashion brand and made frequent appearances on her father's reality show, would be "more competent" than any other American in this position.
In other words, whomever Trump picks to serve as his administration's ambassador to the U.N., he or she will be almost as competent as the president's adult daughter.
"I would be accused of nepotism," Trump added -- because those accusations would be accurate.
As for Ivanka's willingness to decline the position for which she's unqualified, it's worth emphasizing that she didn't have much of a choice. As NBC News' report added, "Federal law may preclude the president from appointing relatives to the U.N. ambassadorship, since it would be considered a post within an executive agency."