News that Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and by most accounts, a Trump loyalist, has resigned from her post on Tuesday has raised eyebrows from Washington, D.C. to Geneva.
Although Axios, which broke the story, did not include a reason for Haley’s departure, one very logical take is that Haley, who tendered her resignation on Tuesday, might have been burned-out from a very intense, almost two-year stint.
Or maybe she has some plans with the GOP after what is sure to be an eventful midterm contest next month. During a press conference on Tuesday, Haley essentially said it was time for her to “step aside” and that she would campaign for President Trump in 2020.
Haley will remain in her post until the end of the year, when she will bid the post and the swanky New York apartment (complete with $52,000 curtains) behind. As short as her time will have been — her replacement is to be announced in the coming weeks — it has been far from boring. Here are her most memorable moments:
Defending her president: While Haley has said that she does not always agree with President Trump on his policies, she’s often been first in line to defend him, be it against the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times (with her own in The Washington Post), or on his decision to pull the United States out of the global migration compact in December.
“Our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone,” said Haley, “We will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country.”
She also spoke up when the president’s speech attracted first, guffaws, then outright laughter, at the U.N. General Assembly in September, blaming it on the media (although the media, on the fourth floor gallery at the U.N. hall, was not laughing).
Threatening U.N. member states: After President Trump unilaterally decided to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, therefore formally recognizing a city whose status was being negotiated by Israelis and Palestinians as the Jewish capital, U.N. member states were furious. They took two votes to show that displeasure.
After the other 14 U.N. Security Council members voted in favor of a draft resolution against the U.S. moving its embassy to Jerusalem — with Haley raising her hand as the sole vote against (and with veto power, that vote stuck) — she delivered a soliloquy on sovereignty, calling the vote “an insult” that “will not be forgotten:”
Knowing that a similar draft resolution was coming up for a wider vote at the U.N., Haley then took to Twitter to make her point:
At the UN we're always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us. On Thurs there'll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names. pic.twitter.com/ZsusB8Hqt4
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) December 19, 2017
The gambit did not work, though: The U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution calling for the nullification of President Trump’s embassy decision, passing by a margin of 128 to 9 (with 35 abstentions).
Walking out while Palestinian envoy speaks: In a remarkably undiplomatic move, Haley in May upped and left a U.N. Security Council when the Palestinian envoy began speaking about the violence between Israeli forces and protesters at Gaza “border” fences that resulted in scores of deaths and hundreds of injuries.
Haley, who had already blamed Hamas and Iran for the violence, did not want to hear what Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour had to say.
Leaving the U.N. Human Rights Council: Calling the U.N. Human Rights Council a “cesspool of political bias” that “protects human rights abusers,” Haley announced in June that the U.S. is leaving the council. This is largely over the council’s repeated calls for Israel to be held accountable for its actions against Palestinians, although the council has failed to hold other U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia, accountable for their actions (specifically, in the case of Saudi Arabia, for the killing of thousands of Yemeni civilians with U.S.-supported airstrikes).
Missile show-and-tell: Haley has taken every opportunity to spin the civil war in Yemen — and the Saudi role in it — as evidence of Iran’s malign behavior. She even held a strange media event at a D.C.-area airbase in December, displaying part of what she said was an Iranian-made missile used by Houthis. The trouble is, there was no way of knowing when and how the missile ended up in Yemen, with no independent verification of where the weapons were made and when they were used.
Supporting the death penalty for homosexuality: Last October, Haley rejected a resolution to ban the use of the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality, effectively sending the message that killing people for being gay is okay.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters that the U.S.’s objection to the resolution had to do with the “abolition of the death penalty altogether.” Haley also tried to spin the vote on Twitter:
Fact: There was NO vote by USUN that supported the death penalty for gay people. We have always fought for justice for the LGBT community.
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) October 4, 2017
But a former U.S. ambassador the to the U.N. shot that down right quick:
Shame on US! I was proud to lead U.S. efforts at UN to protect LGBTQ people, back in the day when America stood for human rights for all 🇺🇸 https://t.co/3Y403bP7Wh
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) October 3, 2017
Angry, though certainly not confused: One of the very few moments when Haley let her displeasure show regarding the chaos coming out of the White House was in April.
That’s when Haley announced a new set of sanctions against Russia, only to have the White House contradict her (President Trump, apparently, was not yet comfortable enough with the sanctions to announce them). Trump’s national economic adviser Larry Kudlow told the media that Haley had gotten “ahead of the curve” and that “there might have been some momentary confusion about [the sanctions].”
Haley fired back, “with all due respect, I don’t get confused.”