President Trump has accepted Nikki Haley’s resignation as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, after a White House meeting last week in which they discussed her departure at the end of the year.
Trump and Haley met at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday in the Oval Office to address the surprise announcement.
“She’s done a fantastic job, and we’ve done a fantastic job together,” the president said. “Hopefully you’ll be coming back at some point … maybe a different capacity.”
“Look at what has happened in two years with the United States on foreign policy,” Haley said. “Now the United States is respected. Countries may not like what we do, but they respect what we do. They know that if we say we’re going to do something, we follow it through, and the president proved that.”
Her departure is not for personal reasons, she said, but added that she is a believer in term limits and thinks government officials should know when to step aside.
Beforehand on Twitter, Trump teased a “big announcement” about his “friend” Haley, who had been one of his early critics.
Big announcement with my friend Ambassador Nikki Haley in the Oval Office at 10:30am.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2018
As America’s top diplomat at the U.N., the former South Carolina governor earned her tough-as-nails reputation promoting the administration’s “America First” foreign policy.
She withdrew the U.S. from the U.N. Human Rights Council, calling it “an exercise in shameless hypocrisy — with many of the world’s worst human rights abuses going ignored, and some of the world’s most serious offenders sitting on the council itself.”
The announcement of Haley’s departure reportedly shocked senior foreign-policy officials in the administration.
“I don’t agree with the president on everything. When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person,” Haley wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post last month. “I have very open access to the president. He does not shut out his advisers, and he does not demand that everyone agree with him. I can talk to him most any time, and I frequently do.”
Haley said that she will not run for president in 2020 but will campaign for Trump instead.