Politics

Nikki Haley Resigns as UN Ambassador, Lawmakers Split on Meaning

Democratic Sen. Menendez sees new sign of a 'chaotic foreign policy'

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, attends the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing for CIA Director Mike Pompeo, nominee for secretary of state, in Dirksen Building on April 12, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:48 a.m. President Donald Trump has accepted the resignation of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, multiple outlets reported Tuesday as lawmakers' began to react along party lines, as has become Washington's custom on just about every issue.

Trump heaped praise on Haley during a late-morning event in the Oval Office, saying she has done an "incredible" job and "gets it." He praised her relationship-making with other world leaders, and her ability to read them.

Haley has been viewed as a steadying presence within the turbulent administration, one of several establishment Republican appointments that helped deliver Trump’s message around the globe. Lawmakers' reaction, not surprisingly, have broken along party lines.

Watch: Trump Announces Nikki Haley’s Departure as UN Ambassador — Successor to Come in 2-3 Weeks

"Ambassador @NikkiHaley has done an outstanding job as United States Ambassador to the United Nations and showed a level of effectiveness rarely seen by someone in this position.....She is a clear, concise voice for American leadership, American values, and has been a true agent of reform when it came to the United Nations," Senate Armed Services member Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted Tuesday.

"I know all South Carolinians are proud of the service she rendered to our nation and the Trump Administration," he added.

Retiring Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc, used a tweet to call Haley "a clear, consistent, and powerful voice for America’s interests and democratic principles on the world stage. She challenged friend and foe to be better. I am saddened that she is leaving the administration, but so grateful for her service."

But Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said her coming exit is "yet another sign of the Trump Administration’s chaotic foreign policy and setback from promoting American values and priorities," adding he worries about a "leadership vacuum."

He said Trump should "immediately" name a replacement.

To that end, the president said he has "many people" who want the job, and he intends to name a nominee within two or three weeks - "maybe sooner."

Haley penned an op-ed in late September denying she wrote an anonymous New York Times opinion piece that excoriated Trump.

“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,” she wrote.

The move removes yet another moderate Republican voice from the Trump Cabinet, and is likely to stoke Democratic concerns that he will replace her with a conservative hardliner more in lockstep with his “America first” philosophy.

Haley is merely the latest in a long line of Cabinet officials or senior administration officials to exit. But Trump repeatedly has brushed off his White House’s and administration’s historically high turnover rate.

“You know look at a certain point everyone sort of leaves, you have to leave,” he said in July. “I’m sort of just standing like a ship, just keep going, bing, bing.”

In a tweet, the president teased a “big announcement” Tuesday morning and referred to Haley as his “friend.”

Trump confirmed her departure during remarks in the Oval Office. He said she will stay in place through the end of the year, adding Haley told him six months ago that she was thinking of stepping down later this year.

Trump said he intends to announce a nominee for the Senate-confirmed post in the next few weeks, meaning that confirmation process likely will play out during a lame duck session after November’s congressional elections.

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