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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.

Cases: 1560117

Reported Deaths: 20796
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2118112563
Lake1021301523
Allen964791027
Hamilton75541551
St. Joseph66476761
Elkhart51045634
Vanderburgh50511531
Tippecanoe45721338
Johnson39600527
Hendricks37933463
Porter35132476
Madison30330547
Clark27296331
Vigo26401347
Monroe24100249
LaPorte23921313
Howard23237381
Delaware22453370
Hancock19314220
Bartholomew18980216
Kosciusko18400204
Warrick17733216
Wayne16982303
Floyd16686257
Grant15966300
Morgan15091232
Boone13924138
Dearborn12235113
Shelby12225152
Noble12170142
Henry12027202
Dubois11696152
Marshall11625171
Jackson11111104
Cass10578143
Lawrence10529221
Huntington10523140
DeKalb10482132
Gibson10114127
Montgomery9671144
Harrison9471117
Knox9415125
Whitley902571
Steuben8934105
Putnam8542100
Miami8533135
Clinton849397
Jasper8462116
Jefferson8319127
Wabash8027140
Ripley7504117
Scott685787
Adams6829103
Daviess6825130
White638184
Greene6317112
Clay628975
Decatur6261121
Jennings619781
Wells6090121
Fayette6054122
Posey580148
LaGrange549097
Randolph5364129
Washington528071
Owen5211100
Fountain493681
Spencer467456
Sullivan462066
Fulton450993
Orange449784
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Rush433941
Jay432564
Perry409155
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Pike334246
Parke331239
Tipton330475
Blackford282255
Pulaski281775
Brown239856
Newton239761
Benton228921
Crawford224932
Switzerland207914
Martin196722
Warren183922
Union178119
Ohio129216
Unassigned0763

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2515949

Reported Deaths: 31987
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2719422100
Cuyahoga2606673087
Hamilton1758091756
Montgomery1177451651
Summit1089011418
Lucas935321193
Butler83907963
Stark771001431
Lorain64214809
Warren53428489
Mahoning51224930
Lake47591611
Clermont46928452
Delaware41107220
Trumbull39746790
Licking38790416
Medina38646427
Fairfield35828349
Greene34313435
Portage32429366
Clark32361453
Richland29653444
Wood29379301
Allen25875403
Miami24243408
Muskingum23564255
Columbiana23046409
Wayne22093365
Tuscarawas19637428
Marion18616235
Erie18608224
Ashtabula18569362
Scioto18159214
Ross17594260
Pickaway16419181
Hancock16115232
Geauga15511229
Lawrence15094186
Belmont14236248
Union1419584
Huron13908184
Jefferson13656261
Sandusky13268200
Athens12877107
Knox12160201
Seneca12055204
Darke11440202
Ashland11248184
Washington11152172
Auglaize10873147
Crawford10432178
Shelby10402160
Brown10094145
Highland9746151
Fulton9726154
Guernsey9683122
Defiance9567137
Logan9470147
Clinton9428132
Mercer9099112
Madison9032111
Preble8524170
Williams8305138
Putnam8069136
Champaign8040113
Ottawa7971123
Jackson7848121
Perry7514102
Coshocton7411136
Morrow729184
Fayette715992
Pike666689
Hardin6564133
Gallia638891
Adams6227127
Van Wert6065121
Henry602596
Hocking5918105
Wyandot503594
Carroll5009101
Holmes4880167
Paulding426465
Meigs400974
Monroe316468
Harrison299162
Noble296952
Morgan292748
Vinton258646
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