Haley will step down at the end of the year, Trump said during a Tuesday morning meeting with the ambassador in the Oval Office. She had told him six months ago that she wanted to leave after serving two years in the role, the president said.
“Nikki Haley, ambassador to the United Nations, has been very special to me,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “She’s a fantastic person, very importantly, but she is also somebody who gets it.”
Trump said Tuesday that Haley has “done an incredible job” as ambassador, adding that he would be happy to have her back in any capacity.
Haley was confirmed as U.N. ambassador in January 2017. Previously, she was the governor of South Carolina. Haley had been an early critic of Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign, calling him “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president” in February 2016. Trump had publicly fired back at her jabs, tweeting in March 2016 that “the people of South Carolina are embarrassed” by her.
Trump’s decision to appoint Haley to head the U.S. envoy to the U.N. was widely viewed as an olive branch to some of Trump’s conservative critics. She has helped the Trump administration navigate some of its most controversial foreign policy endeavors related to North Korea and Russia.
Haley said Tuesday that she was a “lucky girl” to have been able to serve as South Carolina’s governor and as U.N. ambassador.
“It has been an honor of a lifetime,” she said in the Oval Office. “Look at what has happened in two years with the United States on foreign policy. Now, the United States is respected. Countries may not like what we do, but they respect what we do.”
Last month, Haley drew backlash online after claiming world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly had laughed at Trump because they “respect” his “honesty” ― not because they disagreed when he proclaimed his administration to be one of the most accomplished in U.S. history.
Haley’s seemingly abrupt resignation prompted speculation that she may be considering a 2020 presidential bid, though she squashed those rumors Tuesday, stating she plans to campaign for Trump’s re-election. Haley’s replacement will be named within a few weeks, Trump said Tuesday.
Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.), praised Haley’s work at the U.N. following her resignation announcement.
“Nikki Haley has a very bright future and will be a key player in both the future of the Republican Party and our nation as a whole for years to come,” Graham tweeted.
This story has been updated with more details on Nikki Haley’s resignation and reactions to it.