WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump has accepted the resignation of Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN. Haley will leave by the end of the year and her successor will be named within two or three weeks, Trump told reporters.
The president added that he hopes Haley will return to the administration at some later point, and that he told her she could choose what position to be appointed to.
Haley thanked Trump and said it was “the honor of a lifetime” to serve as his UN ambassador. She denied rumors that she was planning to run against Trump in the Republican primary in 2020. “I’m not running,” she said.
Trump said that Haley had told him about six months earlier that she intended to leave after serving in the role for two years. He called her a “great person” and someone who is “very special to me” and said his administration “hates to lose” Haley.
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Addressing U.S. goals she tried to advance at the UN, the envoy said during her joint announcement with Trump that one of the things she was glad were achieved during her tenure is that the U.S. proved it could "put our embassy where we want."
Moments after reports regarding Haley's alleged resignation surfaced, Trump took to Twitter to say that he will make a big announcement with his "friend" Haley.
Haley has emerged over the past year as one of the most popular officials in the Trump administration, particulary among supporters of Israel. She has repeatedly defended Israel’s government from criticism, and criticized the Palestinians many times. Haley spoke twice over the past 18 months at the annual AIPAC conference, where she received strong applause from the crowd.
Haley's defense of Israel and criticism of the UN and Palestinian was reflected in Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon's response to her resignation. "Thank you, Nikki Haley!" Danon wrote on Twitter. "Thank you for standing up for the truth without fear, thank you for representing the values common to Israel and the United States. Thank you for the support you gave Israel, which led to a change in Israel's status at the UN. Thank you for your close friendship. You will always be a true friend to the State of Israel."
Education Minister Naftali Bennett also took the opportunity to praise Haley, writing on Twitter: "Dear Amb @NikkiHaley, on behalf of the Israeli people: Thank you for what you've done for Israel. We will not forget."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also chimed in. "I would like to thank Ambassador Nikki Haley, who led the uncompromising struggle against hypocrisy at the UN, and on behalf of the truth and justice of our country," he said on Twitter.
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Haley did come under some criticism early in her tenure, however, for blocking former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad from being appointed to the position of the UN’s special envoy for Libya. Fayad is considered a moderate leader with close ties to former Israeli and American officials, and Haley’s actions against him were seen as too harsh by some mainstream supporters of Israel in the United States.