Why Nikki Haley’s Resignation Is a Hopeful Sign for Opponents of Trump
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley Resigning
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is resigning from her post. President Trump confirmed on Tuesday that Haley will leave the administration “at the end of the year.”
Why Nikki Haley’s Resignation Is a Hopeful Sign for Opponents of Trump by John Cassidy
Rather than wait for the dénouement of the Trump story, which is unlikely to be pretty, Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., is getting out while the getting is good, Photograph by Zach Gibson / Bloomberg / Getty
As Brett Kavanaugh was listening to his first legal arguments as a Justice on the Supreme Court, on Tuesday morning, and liberal America was getting even more angry and depressed, Nikki Haley popped up to announce that she’s resigning at the end of the year as the U.S. representative at the United Nations. Sitting next to Donald Trump in the Oval Office, Haley said that it had been “an honor of a lifetime” to hold the U.N. job, which comes with a plush suite at the Waldorf Towers. Preëmpting the obvious question about why she is leaving the Administration at this juncture, she added, “No, I am not running for 2020.”
That didn’t prevent the publication of a slew of pieces speculating about Haley’s motivations, including one from my colleague Eric Lach. On Wednesday morning, one of the most-read pieces on the Washington Post’s Web site was headlined, “ ‘A rising star’: Haley poses a potential threat to Trump even if she doesn’t run in 2020.”
All this interest in Haley’s intentions is understandable. As an Indian-American woman, the daughter of immigrants, she stands out from the sea of white men at the helm of the Republican Party. That itself makes her a “story”—one that, someday, could threaten to knock Trump off the home pages. But Haley isn’t just a G.O.P. oddity. She’s a canny and ambitious politician who has the ability to shape-shift seamlessly.
In getting elected governor of South Carolina as part of the Tea Party wave, in 2010, she campaigned against the “good old boys” who dominated politics in the Palmetto State. Then she worked alongside them. In February, 2016, she called Trump “everything a governor doesn’t want in a President.” Four months later, she endorsed him. At the U.N., she enthusiastically defended some of the most brazenly reactionary and isolationist foreign policies that any modern-day U.S. Administration has put forward, and now, as her tenure comes to a end, an editorial in the Times says that she will be missed. Anybody who can simultaneously retain the support of Trump and the Times’s editorial board should never be underestimated.
Perhaps to quell some of the speculation about Haley’s political ambitions, people close to her leaked the suggestion that she’s looking to make money in the private sector. That may well be true (her most recent federal ethics report listed debts of up to a million dollars), but it doesn’t detract from the main takeaway from her resignation, which should provide some succor for anybody eager to see the back of Trump: he won’t be President forever, and some politically astute people, Haley included, are already looking ahead. Rather than waiting for the dénouement of the Trump story, which is unlikely to be pretty, she’s getting out while the getting is good.
That’s a smart move. A month from now, if the opinion polls are correct, Trump will be facing a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and an inability to get any legislation passed without making concessions. To be sure, even if the midterms go the House Democrats’ way, they might overplay their hand, as the House Republicans did during the second term of the Clinton Administration, rushing to impeach the President and generating a backlash from voters. But that doesn’t have to happen. If Democratic leaders get their way, they will wait for Robert Mueller to file his report on the Russia investigation, and, in the meantime, torment the White House with subpoenas demanding the release of Trump’s financial records, including his tax returns. To read more go to the link below: