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Behind Nikki Haley's sudden exit

With the dust from the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight still far from settled, one of the Trump administr...

Posted: Oct 10, 2018 5:06 AM
Updated: Oct 10, 2018 5:06 AM

With the dust from the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight still far from settled, one of the Trump administration's top Cabinet members announced she is leaving.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, is resigning and leaving her post by the end of the year. As one of the few prominent women in the administration, Haley by leaving also spotlights the gender gap and gender issues plaguing a White House still reeling from the Kavanaugh confirmation.

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This news is indeed startling -- Haley is one of the most respected officials in the administration, both internally and internationally, among America's allies.

There was a palpable and collective anxiety about her exit in some circles, as she's been one of the more stabilizing forces in an otherwise chaotic Trump orbit. She also put a much-needed polish on the public face of the United States when Trump seems to have preferred unsettling our partners in the world.

Among conservatives, who have long been critical of the United Nations' historical inefficacy, many of us believe Haley used her position well to stand up not just for America's interests but also democracy's. She was often a lone voice of support for Israel among a body that is hostile toward it as well as a powerful foil to Russia, Syria and Iran.

As she said in her press conference Tuesday with President Donald Trump, "Now the United States is respected -- countries might not like what we do, but they respect what we do." She leaves big shoes to fill.

Here are some other unanswered questions as Haley prepares to depart:

What happened?

The chummy climate at the press conference suggests Haley's departure was not contentious. Early speculation that she was the author of that anonymous op-ed in The New York Times slamming Trump's White House belied his praise of her and vice versa.

It's possible, however, that she was simply fed up, not with Trump per se but with two years of mixed messages from the White House and an at times unclear foreign policy. She's been contradicted publicly by White House officials and has often offered a stronger message to our enemies than Trump. It's possible Haley and the White House were at loggerheads over any number of issues, from Saudi Arabia's alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Trump's courting of Kim Jong Un to the US role in the Syrian genocide.

What is clear is that Haley does not want any of those disagreements, if there were some, to take center stage now.

Who takes her place?

It wasn't likely a coincidence that Haley used that press conference to heap praise on Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. She called Kushner a "hidden genius" for his behind-the-scenes work on Middle East peace. Both the President's daughter and son-in-law have shown interest in international affairs and could see that pay off with a UN post. It was also reported Tuesday that Dina Powell, Trump's former deputy national security adviser, recently spent the weekend with Haley and her family in South Carolina.

When asked about Haley's replacement, Trump interestingly said, "We have a number of people who want to do it," and said the announcement could come soon, within two or three weeks, suggesting he might already have someone in mind.

What does Haley do next?

The anxiety that many moderates feel as Haley leaves is perhaps countered with a parallel anticipation that her exit is a harbinger of something else -- a run for president.

On that point of order, Haley addressed it directly, saying, "No, I'm not running for 2020, but I will be campaigning for this one," meaning Trump.

Of course, we've heard that before and anything is possible. A race in 2024 could certainly be in the offing -- and I wouldn't be surprised (nor displeased) to hear that a Nikki Haley-Ben Sasse ticket is on the table for either presidential year.

But barring any disasters, Haley will be well-situated to do any number of things, from heading a think tank to running an international organization to campaigning for Republicans.

I for one hope we are only about to hear much, much more from Nikki Haley, not less.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115407

Reported Deaths: 3566
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21196765
Lake10493323
Elkhart6528110
St. Joseph6392106
Allen6178202
Hamilton4848109
Vanderburgh360930
Hendricks2715123
Monroe256036
Tippecanoe239113
Johnson2305123
Clark221457
Porter213647
Delaware194262
Cass19419
Vigo182526
Madison164375
LaPorte142340
Floyd135862
Howard130563
Warrick128038
Kosciusko121617
Bartholomew116457
Marshall100824
Dubois96919
Boone96846
Hancock92143
Grant91934
Noble90832
Henry79826
Wayne75414
Jackson7499
Morgan71638
Shelby67229
Daviess66328
Dearborn66028
LaGrange63411
Clinton59914
Harrison57624
Putnam56412
Knox5159
Gibson5114
Lawrence51129
Montgomery50821
White48514
DeKalb47611
Decatur45839
Miami4353
Greene42435
Fayette42113
Jasper3942
Steuben3807
Scott37311
Sullivan33712
Posey3240
Jennings31312
Franklin30725
Clay3005
Ripley2968
Orange28824
Carroll27413
Whitley2707
Washington2651
Wabash2648
Starke2637
Adams2613
Wells2614
Jefferson2483
Spencer2413
Fulton2382
Huntington2363
Tipton22622
Perry22113
Randolph2167
Jay1800
Newton17311
Owen1681
Martin1640
Rush1554
Pike1471
Vermillion1280
Fountain1232
Blackford1193
Pulaski1131
Crawford1050
Brown1043
Parke962
Benton880
Ohio787
Union780
Switzerland690
Warren391
Unassigned0226

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 148894

Reported Deaths: 4734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin26704607
Cuyahoga17375656
Hamilton13036315
Montgomery7755162
Lucas7280364
Butler5933111
Summit5265252
Marion308847
Mahoning3053281
Warren302349
Stark2838175
Pickaway264344
Lorain230786
Delaware223120
Fairfield208753
Columbiana192980
Licking191063
Trumbull1883132
Wood184172
Clark179440
Clermont170723
Lake161951
Medina146039
Greene144432
Allen143069
Miami142851
Portage113266
Mercer111918
Erie93546
Tuscarawas93020
Wayne92767
Ross87924
Richland86119
Madison81512
Darke79942
Belmont71827
Geauga71349
Hancock69510
Athens6692
Ashtabula65748
Lawrence65322
Shelby62510
Auglaize5979
Putnam58523
Sandusky56320
Huron5427
Union5292
Scioto4986
Seneca47014
Ottawa46830
Preble43315
Muskingum4012
Holmes3859
Jefferson3364
Henry31213
Logan3093
Champaign3043
Perry2969
Clinton29413
Defiance28911
Brown2882
Knox28415
Washington26023
Morrow2572
Hardin25213
Jackson2506
Fulton2411
Ashland2374
Crawford2366
Coshocton23411
Fayette2306
Highland2273
Wyandot21012
Williams2073
Gallia18913
Pike1840
Meigs17410
Guernsey1698
Hocking1639
Carroll1527
Adams1294
Van Wert1173
Monroe11018
Paulding1080
Harrison633
Morgan470
Vinton473
Noble280
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