UPDATE — 10/10, 10:09 a.m. EDT: Politico reported Tuesday sources saying former Trump deputy national security adviser and Golman Sachs executive Dina Powell is the leading candidate to replace Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
Two other candidates, both current U.S. ambassadors to Canada and Germany, are also being considered for the job.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will leave her post by year’s end the White House revealed Tuesday.
A surprise announcement, President Trump told reporters he had accepted Haley’s resignation last week at a White House meeting and told journalists the two had discussed her future earlier this year.
Describing Haley as a “special” member of his administration, Trump effusively praised Haley:
“She’s done a fantastic job and we’ve done a fantastic job together. We’ve solved a lot of problems together and we’re in the process of solving a lot of problems. At the beginning North Korea was a massive problem, and now we’re moving along; it’s moving along nicely.”
Although Haley’s resignation did not cite a specific reason, the 46-year-old former governor of South Carolina told reporters she had no intention of challenging the president in 2020. Haley, however, did not rule out a bid for the White House in 2024.
In her resignation letter, Haley did specifically cite her desire to remain close to the political scene, saying she intended to speak out on “important public policy matters.”
“It has been an honor of a lifetime. I’m such a lucky girl to have been able to lead a state that raised me and to serve a country that I love so much,” Haley said at the White House.
Haley’s exit from the Trump administration marks the third top national security official to leave the White House over the last seven months. Haley’s resignation follows the departure of Rex Tillerson, who served as secretary of state, and H.R. McMaster, who resigned as national security adviser earlier in 2018.
Although Haley had little foreign policy experience and was viewed as an unusual pick to represent the U.S. at the U.N., she earned respect from counterparts in the world legislative body for skillfully articulating American positions.
Haley had harsh words for Syria over its role in the Syrian civil war, defended Trump’s controversial decision to permanently relocate the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, often criticized Russia for its alleged aggressiveness in both Syria and Ukraine and chastised the U.N. for alleged anti-Israel bias.
Seen as a rising star in the the Republican Party, Haley served two terms as governor of South Carolina, deftly guiding the state through a controversy over the flying of the Confederate flag over state buildings and the Dylan Roof massacre.
Trump said a replacement for Haley would emerge in a few weeks.