President Donald Trump talks to Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations. Picture: AP
President Donald Trump talks to Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations. Picture: AP

Shock as top Team Trump member quits

UNITED Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is stepping down.

US President Donald Trump has accepted Ms Haley's resignation and said she will leave at the end of the year.

In a joint press conference with Mr Trump, Ms Haley said she was not leaving because she had disagreements with the Trump Administrations or for personal reasons.

"I think it is important for government officials to know when to step aside," she said. "You need to be selfless enough to know when to step aside."

"No, I'm not running in 2020" for president, she joked. "I look forward to supporting the president in the next election."

US United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley address the United Nations Security Council. Picture: AP
US United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley address the United Nations Security Council. Picture: AP

Mr Trump announced the departure from the Oval Office, where he said that she "has been very special to me" and "is a fantastic person".

"She's done a fantastic job, and we've done a fantastic job together," he said, citing the progress toward a nuclear deal with North Korea. "We're all happy for you in one way, but we hate to lose you."

"I think she's helped make it a much better position, if you want to know the truth," he said. "I wonder why, but it is. I mean, she's made it a more glamorous position. She's made it a more important - more importantly, a more important position."

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.  Picture:  Supplied
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Picture: Supplied

Ms Haley heaped praise on Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

"Jared is such a hidden genius that no one understands," she said. "And Ivanka has been such a great friend. They do a lot of things behind the scenes that I wish more people knew about."

Media is speculating that Ivanka Trump may be the next US Ambassador to the UN. She has made numerous speeches at the UN ranging from women's issues to anti-human trafficking.

Ms Haley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina, reportedly discussed her resignation with Mr Trump during a White House visit last week

She joined the Trump administration in January 2017.

Nikki Haley and her husband Michael Haley. Picture: Supplied
Nikki Haley and her husband Michael Haley. Picture: Supplied

Ms Haley was appointed to the UN post in November 2016 and last month coordinated Mr Trump's second trip to the United Nations, including his first time chairing the UN Security Council.

Before she was named by Mr Trump to her UN post, Haley was the first female governor of South Carolina. She was re-elected in 2014.

At the UN, Ms Haley helped spearhead the Trump administration's efforts to combat what it alleged to be anti-American and anti-Israel actions by the international body.

Mr Trump said he was considering many candidates for Ms Haley's job and that a successor would be named in two to three weeks.

Last month Ms Haley wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post discussing her policy disagreements but also her pride in working for Mr Trump.

"I proudly serve in this administration, and I enthusiastically support most of its decisions and the direction it is taking the country," Ms Haley wrote. "But I don't agree with the president on everything."

That piece came in response to an anonymous New York Times opinion piece in which the author said they were part of the resistance within the Trump Administration working against the US president. Ms Haley was forced to admit that she didn't write the piece.

She was also outspoken in favour of Christine Blasey Ford after the professor levelled sexual abuse allegations against Mr Trump's Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh.

"It turns my stomach. It really turns my stomach. I mean, Ms Ford needs to be heard, but Brett Kavanaugh needs to be heard and the Senate has a responsibility here," Ms Haley said. "They have to lead, they have to make sure it's fair, they have to make sure it's responsible and they have got to take the politics out of this situation."

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Ms Haley clashed with then-candidate Trump during the 2016 campaign, denouncing "the siren call of the angriest voices" who disrespected America's immigrants.

Mr Trump tweeted that "The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley."

As governor, she developed a national reputation as a racial conciliator who led the charge to bring down the Confederate flag at the Statehouse and helped guide the state through one of its darkest moments, the massacre at a black church.

Interestingly within hours of the announcement, Ms Haley wiped her Twitter handle of any mention of the UN or the Trump Administration despite the fact she will stay on in her role until the end of the year.


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