President Donald Trump accepted UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s resignation Tuesday, marking the event by answering questions about the news in an Oval Office meeting.
“It has been an honor of a lifetime,” Haley said Tuesday, sitting beside Trump. She said she would be leaving at “the end of the year.”
Haley added: “For all of you that are going to ask about 2020: No, I am not running for 2020. I can promise you what I’ll be doing is campaigning for [President Trump]. So I look forward to supporting the President in the next election.”
Justifying her decision to resign, she said “I think that it’s just very important for government officials to understand when it’s time to step aside.”
Commenting on the televised Oval Office meeting, Trump said “this is the right way to do it when you really think somebody’s done a terrific job.” He said Haley’s successor would be announced “within the next two or three weeks, maybe sooner.”
Axios first reported Haley’s resignation Tuesday morning. Fox News and CNN confirmed the news, with the latter reporting that Haley resigned “directly to” Trump on Tuesday. Axios reported that Haley and Trump discussed her resignation last week, when she visited the White House.
The United Nations General Assembly concluded late last month. Haley, as UN ambassador, oversaw the United States’ withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council over a perceived bias against Israel. She called the panel “a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”
In May, during the violent Israeli response to Palestinian protests at the barrier between the Gaza Strip and Israel — Israeli forces killed dozens of Palestinians and wounded thousands with live ammunition — Haley told the UN Security Council that “no country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”
Haley is a Russia hawk within the Trump administration and once responded forcefully when White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said “there might have been some momentary confusion” on Haley’s part after Haley announced that the administration planned to further sanction Russia for its support of Syria’s chemical weapons program. Trump had reversed course on the sanctions, apparently without telling Haley. “I don’t get confused,” she responded, to which Kudlow apologized.
Within three months of Haley’s tenure as UN ambassador, the United States announced it would discontinue its funding of the UN Population Fund. The fund focuses on reproductive health and family planning, and disputed the State Department’s claim — the reasoning given for withdrawing funding — that it “supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”
On Monday, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wrote to the State Department’s inspector general asking the office to investigate a series of flights on private planes Haley and her husband accepted in 2017— “seven free flights on luxury private aircraft from three South Carolina businessmen,” CREW said. Haley acknowledged the flights on disclosure forms, justifying them by citing “long standing personal friendship.”
This post has been updated.