U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who abruptly announced her departure Tuesday, will leave behind a job she helped elevate to one of the most influential in the Trump administration, raising the stakes for her successor and fueling speculation about her future.
Haley served almost as a shadow secretary of state during the first year of the administration, wielding more influence than the man who held the job, Rex Tillerson, and winning the confidence of President Trump with her strong defense of his policies at an institution filled with foreign officials opposed to his worldview, even as he sometimes chafed at her ambition.
Her influence has been curtailed in recent months as new national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reclaimed policy and political ground that their predecessors ceded, but she departs with her relationship with Trump intact.
“She’s done a fantastic job, and we’ve done a fantastic job together,” Trump said during a cordial Oval Office meeting with Haley before reporters. “She’s a fantastic person, very importantly, but she also is somebody that gets it.”
“It was a blessing to go into the U.N. with body armor every day and defend America,” Haley said. “And I’ll always do that; I’ll never truly step aside from fighting for our country. But I will tell you that I think it’s time.”