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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Nikki Haley’s resignation: No clear cut answers

Ms Haley’s decision to quit just ahead of crucial midterm elections and after a contentious campaign to confirm a much-criticised nominee for the Supreme Court, which divided the US along gender lines, will continue to fuel speculation about her exit

editorials Updated: Oct 11, 2018 09:08 IST

Hindustan Times
US President Donald Trump talks with UN ambassador Nikki Haley in the Oval Office of the White House after it was announced the president had accepted Haley's resignation in Washington, US, October 9, 2018
US President Donald Trump talks with UN ambassador Nikki Haley in the Oval Office of the White House after it was announced the president had accepted Haley's resignation in Washington, US, October 9, 2018(REUTERS)
         

Unlike many other high-profile members of the Donald Trump administration, Nikki Haley, the first Indian-American to hold a cabinet position, is stepping down as the US ambassador to the United Nations on her own terms. Her resignation has not come under the shadow of a scandal, or followed a terminal breakdown in relations with the mercurial Mr Trump, a reason behind the acrimonious ouster of so many other senior members of the administration. At her appearance with Mr Trump to announce her decision to leave her job at the end of the year, Ms Haley was effusive in her praise of the president and listed what she described as his achievements in the field of diplomacy that have resulted in the US being respected around the world. Some of the matters cited by her as achievements may be questionable, though Mr Trump was equally complimentary and approving of her work at the UN and within his national security circle, and even went on to say he hoped she would return to the administration at some point.

The surprise resignation, however, has led to intense speculation about the reasons behind it and Ms Haley’s plans, given that she is seen as one of the rising stars of the Republican Party and considered a potential rival to Mr Trump in the 2020 presidential race. Ms Haley has already addressed the issue of the next US elections by saying in her resignation that she will not be a “candidate for any office in 2020” and that she will be out campaigning for Mr Trump’s re-election.

Though Ms Haley was the only member of the administration to appear with Mr Trump to announce her resignation, there have been reports that she has been unhappy at being left out of debates on key issues this year, and that she was frustrated by criticism of her within the White House, especially by some aides of Mr Trump who thought she was getting ahead of the president on policy matters.

Ms Haley’s decision to quit just ahead of crucial midterm elections and after a contentious campaign to confirm a much-criticised nominee for the Supreme Court, which divided the US along gender lines, will continue to fuel speculation about her exit. Perhaps, she believed the time had come for her to make a clean break from the Trump administration to focus on her long-term plans. Just because Ms Haley has ruled out running in the next presidential race doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her eyes on the 2024 elections.

First Published: Oct 10, 2018 18:13 IST

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